There is at least one celebrity Florida Man against the deal to bring legal sports betting into the state.
While potential fans of sports betting in Florida hold their breath and look to the Home Office to check the compact, Miami Beach mayor Dan Gelber is not enthusiastic about the possible expansion of gambling into the country Sunshine state.
In a story in the Miami Herald, Gelber wrote a letter to the DOI asking the federal agency to reject the new pact and the Seminole tribe of Florida and Governor Ron DeSantis back to first place.
What’s in Florida sports betting history?
The Miami Herald story describes the mayor of Miami Beach’s objections to the pending contract between the governor and the Seminole tribe.
The mayor’s concerns are centered on the potential expansion of casino gambling in the Hotel in Fountainebleau and at the Trump Doral Property. Gelber argues that this extension about the compact does not match what the Indian Gambling Oversight Act (IGRA) Permits and should therefore be rejected by the Interior Minister Deb Haaland.
Disassemble the mayor’s letter
The letter dated June 3, 2021 was addressed to Haaland and the Deputy Chief Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. The letter calls on officials to reject the agreement.
Gelber notes that his objections are both personal and professional in nature and that while he supports the goals of the IGRA, he argues that this process was as follows:
kidnapped by non-tribal casino interests that have completely corrupted the legislative and executive process in order to gain advantage outside of the tribal lands and in direct conflict with the interests of the Floridians.
After a brief comment on a summary of what was to follow, the letter enters a background section claiming that the closed sessions that led to the landmark agreement included not only the governor and representatives of the Seminole tribe, but also
Representing casino interests in my community, including the owners of the Fontainebleau Hotel and the Trump National Doral Hotel.
Gelber argues that the state is trying to end the 2018 constitutional amendment that required certain game add-ons to be a question that voters must answer in a referendum.
Support in the north
The letter moves from the background into an analysis section. The analysis discusses the Supreme Court Decision in Michigan against Bay Mills Indian Community to argue so
The Federal Decisions Act, which delineates the scope of the IGRA, focuses on the act of gambling – not the equipment – to define the type of “gaming activity” it regulates.
The argument is that the server location is less important than the location of the weather.
Back to Cali
The letter then relies on the Southern District Court of California’s decision in the Iipay Nation case which states:
the phrase “on Indian land” used in the IGRA “is intended to limit gambling to those customers who participate in gaming activity while in the Indian country” and therefore the location of the person placing a bet is “the appropriate measure “. to determine the game operation “under IGRA.
The letter then relies on a 1998 Idaho District Court case, AT&T Corp. v Coeur d’Alene Tribe, and picks up on a footnote that appeared to reject the idea that the term “gaming activity” could be defined by a contract.
Letter upon letter
To further substantiate his argument that the IGRA does not support the behavior agreed in the pact, the mayor also cited a letter dated March 13, 2001 from the General Counsel for the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) argues that IGRA does not allow a game to be offered to people outside of tribal areas.
The second letter quoted is dated June 22, 1999, from the chairman of the NIGC, stating that the extent to which the National Indian Lottery included gambling outside of the reservation was inconsistent with the IGRA.
Any more evidence?
The letter also quotes an amicus letter from the AT&T case in which the federal government has allegedly argued:
that ‘gambling’ takes place both at the location from which a bet is made. . . is written out and the place where the bet is accepted or accepted. ‘
The letter then concludes its evidence presentation by highlighting the representative Brindisi Legislation from a few years ago that would have allowed mobile betting but was ultimately not considered by Congress.
Also other areas of federal law?
The letter then goes on to argue that the proposed pact could violate other areas of federal law, including the Wire Act, Johnson Act, and Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.
However, the analysis of these potential violations in this letter is far less substantive than the analysis in Part A.
The letter then revolves around the argument that the pact would enable expanded casino gambling, which goes against the spirit of Amendment 3, which was passed with significant support in 2018.
How big is that for sports betting in Florida?
Judging the impact of this letter is a bit like trying to predict the weather a year from now.
The letter concludes with the argument that there is no ambiguity in the IGRA that all games of chance must be carried out “on Indian land”. The multi-million dollar question, however, is where a bet will be placed, where the server is or where the weather is.
By mid-July, when the 45-day review window expires, we will have a good idea of where the Home Office is currently on this issue.