New Florida Sports Betting Brief Calls Gov. Ron Desantis’ Authorization “Disrespectful” to Local Voters
On Monday, No Casinos Inc. — a non-profit organization that calls itself “Florida’s leading anti-gambling watchdog,” — submitted an amicus curiae brief with the Florida Supreme Court. It is filed against Gov. Ron DeSantis, who authorized sports betting in 2021.
An amicus curiae brief is a brief filed by a group or party that has interest and/or expertise in the case matter, but is not directly involved in the legal dispute.
Voters Did Not Approve Sports Betting in Florida
No Casinos Inc.’s brief supports West Flagler’s argument that the legalization of online sports betting in Florida violates Amendment 3 of the state constitution.
Amendment 3 states that “Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling by requiring that in order for casino gambling to be authorized under Florida law, it must be approved by Florida voters.”
In this case, sports betting was not approved by voters, but approved via a compact between the state and the Seminole Tribe in 2021.
No Casinos Inc. Takes Issue With Off-Reservation Gaming Maneuver
Sports betting was conducted via a mobile application in the state, which challenges the Florida Constitution’s stance on gaming on tribal lands. The Seminole Tribe and its supporters argue that the computer servers are located on tribal grounds, so therefore the bets are placed there. This has been dubbed the “hub-and-spoke” system.
No Casinos argues that “allowing mobile sports betting throughout the State, based on a legal fiction that Tribal servers render the entire State to be Indian land for mobile gambling purposes, undermines this State’s public policy, as expressed in article X, section 30, Florida Constitution, to disallow such gambling in Florida absent approval by citizen initiative.”
They called the hub-and-spoke system loophole “so transparently false and outcome driven that it is disrespectful to the Florida Constitution” and “disrespectful to the voters who spoke unequivocally in favor of Amendment 3 in 2018.”
No Casinos Wants Voter Authorization
In conclusion, No Casinos wrote:
“This Court should act to preclude the unconstitutional Compact and its implementing statutes from taking effect. Until and unless the voters authorize state-wide sports betting, this Court has the discretionary power and, we think, the duty to invalidate the Respondents’ actions in approving the sports betting provisions of the Compact and in passing implementing statutes. This Court should grant the writ.”
The state will now have an opportunity to respond to No Casinos brief though there is no hard deadline to do so.
And the Florida sports betting case rages on.