From the Legal Hotline (1-877-NEWS-LAW)

From the Legal Hotline (1-877-NEWS-LAW)

Q. We have heard that there have been recent legal changes regarding the Seminole Tribe compact for sport betting and the legality of sports betting sites and placing advertising on digital sites. Can you provide any background?

A. As you may recall, despite some online sports betting being legally sanctioned in 2021 through a new compact between the Seminole Tribe and the state, the agreement was initially successfully challenged in federal district court, meaning that digital platform sports betting activity continued to be illegal across the board in Florida. The case was appealed, however, and on June 20, the D.C. Circuit Court overturned the decision. That decision effectively legalized sports betting. However, recently the plaintiffs filed a motion for rehearing and until that is heard, the appellate court’s decision is not final, and sports betting remains illegal.

Moreover, if the rehearing is not successful (likely scenario), the plaintiffs may choose to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court (and if SCOTUS accepts the appeal), the Circuit Court’s decision will likely be stayed, and the legality of sports betting will remain in limbo for some time until the new appeal is decided. Conversely, if no appeal is taken, then sports betting through the Seminole Tribe will become legal. So, everything really hinges on how any appeal progresses. It’s therefore important to monitor how this develops.

In light of this, we would advise you against placing advertising for sports betting platforms where users place bets on the actual outcome of a real game or sports contest. In particular, we think ads for platforms like Bet MGM and Pointsbet, which apparently only offer sports betting, would be risky.

On the other hand, there is some grey area regarding the legality of online fantasy sports contests (where participants manage a fantasy or simulation “team” composed of real athletes from a professional sports organization that are not all playing on the same team or in the same game in real life). As a result, there may be more leeway for advertising these contests. In particular, Fan Duel and Draft Kings sites offer fantasy sports contests (in addition to sports betting), and there may be room to accept some advertising from them. However, keep in mind that even for fantasy sports contest sites like these, the law is murky and you should keep up to date about any changes in regulation of fantasy sport betting.

In particular, make a note to look at the newly created Florida Gaming Control Commission annual report that it must published by December 1 of each year (beginning this year, 2022). The report will outline recent events in the gaming industry, such as pending litigation and new and pending rules. Fla. SB 4A, § 4 (2021), FLA. STAT. § 16.712(3)).

Regarding horserace betting, this activity is legal (and considered different from general sports betting), and advertising for this type of gambling is permissible.

Q. We have been asked to submit a notarized form to obtain a crash report. Can this be required for this type of public record?

A. Yes. The law, s. 316.066, says that crash reports must be made immediately available to certain persons (including some media) but the person must provide id and file a written sworn statement with the agency. The person must swear he or she will not use the crash report for any commercial solicitation of accident victims, or knowingly disclose it to any third party for the purpose of such solicitation while the information remains confidential.

Q. I have a question about a recent “executive” meeting our city had regarding collective bargaining. This meeting was between the city commissioners and the city appointed negotiation team and possibly the city manager. I have reviewed the 2022 sunshine manual and see where they are allowed to have these meetings but at the end of the negations section (pg32) it talks about how the public should have the right to hear the meeting if the pension is involved. Their “executive” meeting definitely discussed the pension in regard to the collective bargaining process. Any clarification would be helpful.

A. I agree that the collective bargaining exemption is fairly narrow and only applies when the city (public employer) is meeting with its own side. If the meeting strays beyond this, it arguably should be open.