Florida law enforcement officials are cracking down on underground gaming facilities, including recently shutting down the Rio Arcade in Port St. Lucie. Sheriff’s deputies Police raided a gaming center in Rio and confiscated nearly 100 slot machines.
“These rides are all illegal,” Sheriff Ken Mascara said. CBS-12. “This place tends to prey on older people, who bring their Social Security checks here and lose everything.”
More raids in the works
This is just the latest raid in South Florida. These gambling arcades offer the opportunity to play slot-like games and get paid in cash. However, authorities point out that the games violate the state gaming law.
Everyone who was playing for Rio at the time of the bankruptcy is now facing charges, with the owner and manager being charged with the most severe crime of managing and operating an illegal enterprise.
“Everyone who was playing when we came in is going to be arrested,” Mascara said. “There will be 30 to 40 people who will have to deal with a court case. You will have to put your head under a rock not to know that this is illegal.”
Operators often call the games offered “games of skill” in an attempt to circumvent gaming laws. Camp has promised more raids but has made similar efforts in the past Attempts to open more arcades have not been curbed.
“Adult gaming rooms first appeared in Florida in the early 2000s, often featuring desktop computers that simulated slot machine-like games.” Tampa Bay Times Reports. “Operators have circumvented arcane laws by awarding prizes indirectly. Others have exploited a law allowing lotteries. When some of these arcades close, others will emerge, finding new loopholes to continue gambling.”
The Seminoles are receiving a positive ruling on sports betting, but still face challenges
The crackdown on illegal betting is good news for the Seminole Tribe, which operates the state’s largest casinos.
Last June, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of the tribe and Gov. Ron DeSantis, forcing the Interior Department to reinstate an agreement that makes the tribe the only sports betting operator in the state.
Florida originally granted the Seminoles the right to operate online sports betting as part of the tribe’s charter update in May 2021. However, Magic City Casino and Bonita Springs Poker Room filed a lawsuit against the Department of the Interior challenging that exclusivity.
A lower court ruling in November 2021 derailed online sports betting in the Seminole, but the latest ruling may allow betting to begin again.
However, some legal experts say the ruling may allow for more legal challenges. Voters approved a 2018 constitutional amendment banning further expansion of gaming, and some say state courts could say the Seminole Convention violates the will of the people. Professor of Law I. Nelson Rose says that The amendment will replace the combined agreement.
“It doesn’t matter that this court decided that Egra (Indian Gaming Regulatory Act) allows the Home Secretary to approve off-reservation gambling agreements,” Rose writes in his post. Gambling and the law Blog. “The decision does not bind any state nor any tribe, not even Florida nor the Seminoles, neither of whom was a party to the lawsuit. Furthermore, the same court made it clear that the issue depended entirely on state law, not Egra (Indian Gaming Regulatory Act).”
Plaintiffs I have already appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that the Florida agreement could establish a “blueprint for expanding gaming beyond Indian lands” throughout the country. Challenges in state court could follow, but the bet at least appears to be coming back soon despite the likelihood of these potential legal challenges.