A step forward for those in support of sports betting

Published: October 19, 2021 4:42 PM EDT
Updated: October 19, 2021 4:58 PM EDT

This week, a win came for those who want sports betting to come to Florida sooner rather than later.

A judge dismissed a lawsuit from the owners of a Florida poker room. Now, two more lawsuits are waiting to be heard. WINK News asks experts if they think the move to throw out the first lawsuit could become a trend.

The owners of the Bonita Springs Poker Room were the first to lose their first bet. They hope their odds are better the second time around. They’ll have a different judge, in a different court and a new argument. They believe online sport setting controlled by the Seminole Tribe will “cannibalize” their customer base.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Seminole tribe won the first hand. A federal judge dismissed one of three lawsuits challenging their compact to bring sports betting to Florida.

John Holden is a sports betting expert and an attorney. “You never want to start out losing. So, this…when they’re there now, the odds go up that we’re going to see, certainly online betting coming soon,” Holden said.

WINK News asked Holden to explain why that federal judge may have thrown out the lawsuit. The owners of Bonita Springs Poker Room sued Governor DeSantis and the Secretary of the Department of Businesses and Professional Regulation, Julie Brown.

“Effectively, what the judge said is that…neither one of these people, are the people causing you this injury. So, they’re the wrong people,” said Holden.

Sports betting expert and attorney Daniel Wallach says the correct people to sue would be the federal government. The owners of Bonita Springs Poker Room are going to try again but this time with a new lawsuit and a new judge.

“The DC lawsuit is being brought against a different defendant, which is the United States Department of the Interior, the federal agency which actually approved the compact,” Wallach said.

“No Casinos” is an anti-gambling group that is also suing the Department of the Interior. A judge will hear both remaining lawsuits, the other two of the three, on November 5. However, based on the first lawsuit, the State of Florida thinks it holds all of the cards.

“It’s a pretty big win,” Holden said.

The “No Casinos”  lawsuit argues gambling off of tribal lands will negatively impact neighborhoods, increase crime and reduce property values.