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US Supreme Court refuses to take up challenge to Florida's online sports betting compact

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US Supreme Court refuses to take up challenge to Florida's online sports betting compact
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Sport

US Supreme Court refuses to take up challenge to Florida's online sports betting compact

2024-06-17 23:38 Last Updated At:23:40

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to take up a challenge to an agreement that gave the Seminole Tribe exclusive rights to handle online sports betting in Florida, dealing a blow to the deal's opponents.

The nation's highest court denied a petition from opponents of the compact, which promises to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars for the tribe and the state.

The decision was the latest setback for West Flagler Associates and the Bonita-Fort Myers Corporation, which operate racetracks and poker rooms in Florida. In March, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the companies had filed the wrong type of petition to challenge the 2021 compact between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration.

The companies say the compact gives the tribe a sports betting monopoly in the nation's third most populous state and that the U.S. Department of Interior wrongly approved the compact even though it violates the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which requires that gambling occurs on tribal lands.

The plaintiffs questioned whether online sports bets that can be placed from anywhere in Florida could be considered to be on tribal land when only the computer servers that host the betting services are located there.

They said DeSantis and the Legislature, which approved the compact, improperly exceeded their powers by authorizing sports betting off tribal lands.

In their state court challenge, they argued that the deal creates a backdoor way out of a requirement, passed by voters in 2018 as an amendment to the Florida Constitution, that a citizens initiative is needed to expand casino gambling outside of tribal land. The tribe has argued that the Legislature has the authority to decide where online gambling is initiated and that the amendment doesn’t change that.

Attorneys for DeSantis and the legislative leaders have said that sports betting is different from casino gambling and therefore isn’t prohibited by the state constitutional amendment.

The tribe launched its online sports betting operation late last year, and Florida’s share of 2024 revenues is already more than $120 million. State economic forecasters predict that the revenue sharing from tribal gaming could total $4.4 billion through the end of this decade.

FILE - The guitar shaped hotel is seen at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on Oct. 24, 2019, in Hollywood, Fla. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, June 17, 2024 refused to take up a case challenging an agreement that gave the Seminole Tribe exclusive rights to run sports wagers in Florida as well as casino gambling on its reservations, dealing a blow to the deal's opponents. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

FILE - The guitar shaped hotel is seen at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on Oct. 24, 2019, in Hollywood, Fla. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, June 17, 2024 refused to take up a case challenging an agreement that gave the Seminole Tribe exclusive rights to run sports wagers in Florida as well as casino gambling on its reservations, dealing a blow to the deal's opponents. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

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North Korea launches balloons likely carrying trash toward South Korea

2024-07-18 17:46 Last Updated At:17:50

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea resumed flying balloons likely carrying trash toward South Korea on Thursday, the South's military said, days after it vowed to respond to what it called new South Korean civilian leafleting activities across the border.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the balloons were flying north of Seoul, which is about an hour’s drive from the border, on Thursday afternoon.

It warned the South Korea public to be cautious of falling objects and report to authorities if they spot balloons on the ground.

Starting in late May, North Korea has floated more than 2,000 balloons carrying wastepaper, scraps of cloth, cigarette butts and even manure toward South Korea, saying they were in response to South Korean activists sending political leaflets to the North via their own balloons. No hazardous materials were found.

In response, South Korea suspended a 2018 tension-reduction deal with North Korea, resuming propaganda broadcasts briefly and front-line live-fire military drills at border areas.

The Cold War-style campaigns between the Koreas had paused after North Korea last sent rubbish-carrying balloons toward South Korea in late June.

Earlier this week, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said South Korean balloons have been found again at border and other areas in North Korea. In her statement Tuesday, Kim Yo Jong threatened new retaliatory steps, saying South Korean “scum” must be ready to pay “a gruesome and dear price.” That raised concerns that North Korea could stage physical provocations, rather than balloon launches.

South Korea’s military said Wednesday it has boosted its readiness to brace for any provocation by North Korea. It said North Korea may fire at incoming South Korean balloons across the border.

It wasn't immediately known whether groups in South Korea have recently scattered leaflets in North Korea. For years, activist groups led by North Korean defectors have used helium-filled balloons to drop anti-North Korean leaflets, USB sticks containing K-pop music and South Korean dramas and U.S. dollar bills in the North.

North Korea views such activities as a serious security threat and challenge to its ban on foreign news for most of its 26 million people.

In 2020, North Korea destroyed an unoccupied South Korean-built liaison office on its territory in a furious response to South Korean civilian leafleting campaigns. In 2014, North Korea fired at balloons flying toward its territory and South Korea returned fire, though there were no casualties.

Tensions between the Koreas have heightened in recent years because of North Korea's missile tests and the expansion of U.S-South Korean military drills that North Korea calls invasion rehearsals.

FILE - A balloon presumably sent by North Korea, is seen in a paddy field in Incheon, South Korea, on June 10, 2024. South Korea says North Korea has launched balloons likely carrying trash toward South Korea on Thursday July 18, 2024. (Im Sun-suk/Yonhap via AP, File)

FILE - A balloon presumably sent by North Korea, is seen in a paddy field in Incheon, South Korea, on June 10, 2024. South Korea says North Korea has launched balloons likely carrying trash toward South Korea on Thursday July 18, 2024. (Im Sun-suk/Yonhap via AP, File)

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