Dan Gelber, the Miami Beach mayor, has sent a letter to the US Department of Interior requesting the rejection of a proposed bill to make it easier for Indian Tribes to buy land in his city. Mayor Gelber fears the Indian Tribe could use a loophole to bypass local opposition to building a casino resort on his city’s land.
If the bill gets through, Indian Tribes could benefit from not adhering to environmental and zoning regulations, limiting the oversight of local and state law enforcement, and not having to pay any property taxes.
Putting the land into a trust after the purchase will allow the Indian Tribes to take advantage of the above, equivalent to reservations that benefit from not falling under state and federal laws.
Gambling in Florida has been consistently opposed by the Miami Beach City Commission. Six resolutions have been adopted since 2008 to oppose any pending legislation related to gambling in the state.
Opposition to the new federal rule fears that the Indian Tribe could bypass laws that stipulate all gaming and casino licenses must be approved by federal and state governments. Proponents of those opposing the bill also claim that the casino is allowed to be built, it diminishes the power and policies of the commission against casino betting in Florida.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs claims the new rule aims to make the purchasing of land and putting it under a trust more efficient. Helping to restore tribal homelands into a much more efficient and streamlined process that’s much less expensive.
Marc Dunbar, the legal representative and gaming expert of the Indian Tribe, has said the Mayor and the rest of the commission are mistaken that allowing the casino to go ahead will diminish their power. Claiming any construction of a casino could be blocked by the City of Miami in City Hall.
Federal rules will not change regarding laws on allowing casinos in the state and tribal land. Nothing will be different and the people of Florida can still block the casino.
Dunbar is also using the court case in which the federal government sided with Hard Rock Cafe owners, the Seminole Tribe of Florida. In this lawsuit, the tribe won its case to allow the expansion of its gambling operations in Florida. The local government had tried to block the gambling company’s expansion on the grounds that it would have a monopoly on sports betting in Florida.
Betting on sports online in Florida should be allowed if the servers are located on tribal land, according to Dunbar. Casinos and online betting should be allowed as the Indian Tribes aim to get a foothold in Florida, not just the south of the state.
Any proposed federal rule won’t come into effect immediately if approved by the federal government. The Office of Management and Budget and Congress has the power to prevent the new rule from getting through. Legal challenges could also arise from the opposition, so it remains to be seen what the outcome will be.