The long and arduous fight over Florida sports betting has been dragging on for over two years, and it is no where near the end. But with so much at stake, is it any wonder that things are moving so slow? And that folks are fighting so hard? It’s a complicated issue. Some of you may be wondering why you should care about betting on sports in a state where you don’t live. Fortunately for you, we’re here to fill you in on why this is so important, and why you should definitely care about the outcome.
Let’s take a step back first, so that we can put the Florida sports betting battle in perspective. There has been a legal debate for years about where a bet takes place over the internet. There are some who feel it’s where the bet is placed by the player, and where they are physically located. This is why you hear so much about Geo-location there days. But there are others who say the bet takes place where it is taken, and where that casino or gambling hall is physically located. That makes sense, too… but wait.
It gets even more complicated with online betting, because there are servers and age verification processes and credit card transactions. Are those legally part of the bet? Do any of those verification processes or financial transactions cross state lines? Oh, and there are also a certain number of folks who think it’s not any one element that determines where a bet takes place, but a combination of all of them! So, if a player in Miami places a bet with a bookie in Tampa Bay, but the age verification process involves Ohio, and the credit card company is in California, where did the bet legally take place?
This matters when it comes to law, and even more so with Florida sports betting. You see, betting in the state is restricted to Tribal Casinos. And when the governor and Seminole Indians made an agreement for bring internet sports bets to the state, they put the servers for the online casinos on Tribal land. They believed that this would establish that all bets were placed on Tribal land… but not so fast. Not everyone agrees with this decision… especially those businesses negatively impacted by this decision.
Still with us? Good, because believe it or not it gets worse. Now that Tribal Gaming is involved, there is the additional legal argument of Tribal sovereignty. Are these Native Americans truly sovereign nations, free to make these compacts and agreements or not? So now, the case for Florida sports betting involves the state, the Seminoles, small business owners, local governments and jurisdictions, US District Courts, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and possibly the US Supreme Court! And all you wanted to do was bet $10 on the Fins?
So now we get to the point about why you should care. It’s called president, and if this does get to the High Court it will be set. The decision of the Supreme Court (if it truly makes it that far) would set the rules, so to speak, for many years to come. Whatever they decide about where a bet takes place, about Tribal sovereignty, and about legal agreements between states and tribes will definitely impact other states with Tribal Gaming… and potentially change the entire landscape of online gambling in America.