Florida judge junks pari-mutuel’s plea vs. Seminole

Florida judge junks pari-mutuel's plea vs. SeminoleA federal judge has thumbed down a Northwest Florida pari-mutuel’s appeal to overturn a decision allowing the Seminole tribe to continue offering “banked” card games, such as blackjack, at most of its casinos.

The Naples Herald reported that U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle threw out the petition filed by Gretna Racing in Gadsen County, which earlier asked the judge to reconsider his decision “that puts the small facility and its operators at risk.”

Gretna was referring to Hinkle’s decision on the legal battle between the Seminole Tribe and the state about gambling at tribal casinos last year.

In rejecting the appeal, Hinkle pointed out that Gretna had no right to intervene in the case.

“And even if Gretna could have qualified for permissive intervention on a timely application — not an obvious proposition — I would exercise my discretion to deny intervention at this late date as both untimely and otherwise inadvisable,” Hinkle wrote in the two-page order.

But as consolation, Hinkle noted that his ruling in the dispute between the state and the tribe does not affect Gretna.

“The judgment in this case has no binding effect on Gretna, and the order explaining the judgment will have a practical effect only to the extent a future tribunal finds the reasoning persuasive,” Hinkle wrote. “If, as Gretna seems to believe, it has additional evidence that will persuade a judge to reach a different result, Gretna will be free to present the evidence if ever its own interests become the subject of a judicial or administrative proceeding.”

The Seminoles and their lawyers had long traded accusations that they violated a 2010 deal that gave the tribe exclusive rights to operate banked card games, such as blackjack, in exchange for $1 billion in payments to the state.

The state argued that the tribe could not have blackjack after the first five years of the 20-year agreement.

On the other hand, the Seminoles maintained that it was free to offer the games because the state violated the terms of the agreement when it allowed pari-mutuel casinos to offer games similar to blackjack.

In November, Judge Hinkle ruled that Florida gambling regulators’ decision to allow controversial card games violated an agreement with the Seminole Tribe that gave tribal casinos exclusive rights to conduct “banked” games such as blackjack.

Gretna is among the numerous pari-mutuel cardrooms in the state that offer the player-banked games, which have eclipsed traditional poker in popularity.

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January 9, 2017: posted in News And Reviews No Comments

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