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Judge denies Seminole Tribe's request to stay federal ruling that struck down gaming compact

The judge found the tribe failed to show the previous decision will cause them irreparable harm.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — A federal district court judge has denied the Seminole Tribe of Florida's request for a stay on a ruling which essentially eliminated the online sports betting portion of their gaming deal with the state.

United States District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich, who initially struck down the compact, was unpersuaded that the Tribe's motion raises “serious legal questions” and failed to show the previous decision will cause them irreparable harm.

According to court documents, the Tribe also argued the Secretary of Interior did not adequately represent their interests in the case. In the end, the judge said the Seminole Tribe was unlikely to succeed on the merits put forward and the public interest doesn't outweigh other considerations.

"For the reasons stated above, in addition to those stated in the Memorandum Opinion, the Court finds that Tribe does not satisfy the requirements for the “extraordinary remedy” of a stay," court documents read.

The Seminole Tribe's filing comes after Judge Friedrich found the multibillion-dollar agreement between the state and tribe allowing online sports betting violated a federal rule.

That rule is the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which does not allow bets to be placed off tribal land even if the servers processing those bets are on tribe property. 

The sports betting law is also in violation of the state's own constitution, according to Friedrich. The law violates amendment three of the state constitution, which voters passed in 2018. It gives Floridians the right to vote on issues related to gambling that occurs off tribal land.  

According to Friedrich, the Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, received a copy of the gaming compact in June. However, since they took no action in 45 days, they automatically defaulted and approved the compact. 

Friedrich said Florida lawmakers could come up with a new gaming compact that allows online gaming solely on Indian lands. Alternatively, Floridians could also authorize online sports betting if the topic is placed on the ballot in next year's election.