The Seminole Tribe of Florida has opened a lawsuit against Jacksonville gaming parlours that are claimed to be in breach of the tribe’s exclusive right to offer casino-style gaming in state.
Records have revealed the filing of an antitrust lawsuit in Duval County’s fourth judicial court alleging that the Florida state gaming compact was being violated by a spate of internet cafes.
The suit includes a list of some 11 electronic gaming parlour operators whose premises are alleged to run casino style gaming despite being described as coffee shops, cafes and restaurants.
The tribe further claims that operations in Duval County is also in breach of local anti-gambling legislation and the continued running of such in this prohibited area is tantamount to unfair competitive practice.
The Seminole Tribe was granted exclusive rights to operate class 3 gaming operations throughout the region in 2010, although this most recent filing has the potential to cast the validity of this into doubt.
A compact provision states that if class 3 gaming is to be permitted for those outside of Seminole operation then the tribe would not be obligated to pay its revenue taxes back to Florida.
Enforcement against these parlours has been underwhelming to date and it appears that the bringing of legal action to the fore is a powerful card in the tribe’s hand as the halting of gaming revenue payments, more than $1bn since the deal was struck, would be disastrous for state finances.