GULFPORT, Fla. Days after the Seminole tribe relaunched its mobile sports betting app and announced the reintroduction of sports betting to its casinos, another betting company has filed a motion with the U.S. Supreme Court to suspend it.
A local recovering gambling addict says he supports withdrawing the deal that allowed the expansion, saying he doesn’t think it will be good for the state’s youth.
As part of a $2.5 billion deal between the Seminole Tribe and the state, sports betting will become legal in Florida. Seminole’s Hard Rock Bet app originally launched in 2021, but betting had to be paused after another Supreme Court ruling blocked the deal.
According to court documents, opponents of the expansion argue that the state of Florida “exceeded its constitutional authority by enacting a law that expanded casino gambling in the state without citizen approval.”
The crux of the controversy is: When a bet or bet is made by a patron outside of Indian Country, is it permissible under the Federal Indian Gaming Act, which only allows the making of games that provide for gaming in Indian Country?” analyst Daniel Wallach. “And yes is that same off-reservation bet a separate violation of the state of Florida’s constitutional prohibition against non-voter-approved casino gambling?Five years ago, voters approved Amendment 3, which stripped the Legislature of expanding casino gambling and made it the sole prerogative of voters.
David Tarbert says he became addicted after he started gambling in his teens.
Now in his 60s, Tarbert is enjoying retirement with a solo game of tennis, a safe space for someone who has spent the last eight years recovering from a gambling addiction.
You can’t watch a game without being constantly exposed to betting, he said.
He was exposed to casinos and black jack on cruises with his family.
You see other people in casinos and you think that guy has a problem, Tarbert said. Addicts are big liars.
Tarbert said he struggled with his addiction from age 18 to age 54, when he entered rehab.
He says that technology made it easier to hide his addiction from his family and that it ended up costing him his marriage and a lot of money.
I could be physically present, but mentally and emotionally I’m gone because I’m looking at my phone, he said.
Expanding that approach by legalizing sports betting in Florida is what worries Tarbert about legalization, which he believes will expose younger audiences to gambling.
He is active with the non-profit organization Stop Predatory Gambling, which targets ads that promote gambling.
The group also opposes any part of government budgets being financed by gambling.
I am a big sports fan, he said. One of the things that happened when I stopped gambling was that I started enjoying sports again because I didn’t care about the final score.
Tarbert said his story is a cautionary tale and warns others that there is much more to lose than to gain from gambling.
For more information about addiction and treatment options, visit the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website.
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