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Magic City Casino Owners Sue To Invalidate Sports Betting Deal Between Florida And Seminole Tribe

Gov. Ron DeSantis and a member of the Seminole Tribe of Florida sit at a desk with two flags.
News Service of Florida


One of Florida’s oldest parimutuel companies, owner of Miami’s Magic City Casino and the Bonita Springs Poker Room, has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Florida gaming compact between the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, alleging that the sports betting component is a based on “legal fiction” that violates federal law.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida by the Havenick family’s West Flagler Associates and Bonita-Fort Myers Corporation — also known as Southwest Parimutuels — argues that the agreement authorizing sports betting outside of tribal lands in Florida is in violation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) and asks the court to enjoin implementation of sports betting.

Florida legislators ratified the compact signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and Seminole Tribe Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr. during a three-day special session in May, allowing Florida to join dozens of others states in offering sports betting and opening the door to the broadest expansion of gambling in Florida in a decade. In exchange, the Tribe will guarantee at least $500 million in annual revenue payments to the state for the next 30 years.

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