A court hearing to decide whether the Seminole Tribe of Florida can keep offering banked card games like Black Jack is underway.
The portion of a gaming agreement between Florida and the tribe that let Seminole Casinos offer banked card games has expired. But the Seminoles continue to offer the games. That’s because they say the state is letting other pari-mutuels offer the games through electronic machines. Marc Dunbar, a partner at the law firm of Jones Walker in Tallahassee, spoke about the issue as the provision expired last year. He says the question before the court is an unusual one.
“No court has ever answered the basic question, if you legalize something in electronic format does that entitle a sovereign tribe to do it in a real format. And that’s basically the nature of the case,” Dunbar says.
Meanwhile Seminole officials say a number of issues hang in the balance. Seminole Gaming CEO Jim Allen says those factors include money and the tribe’s sovereignty.
“But most importantly, there’s 3,700 people that have jobs that we’re trying to protect,” Allen says.
A court hearing on the case is expected to continue for several days.