Supreme Court declines intervention in Florida sports betting, which may relaunch

October 26, 2023

The Seminole Tribe sports betting compact, challenged by West Flagler Associates, may still propose 'serious constitutional questions.'

The US Supreme Court has denied a request from casino operators in Florida to put a US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia sports betting decision on hold. The case of West Flagler Associates v. Haaland has examined whether a compact agreed on in 2021 violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).

The first legal challenge was dismissed in October 2021, and the Tribe launched online sports betting with Hard Rock Bet in November that year, but a federal decision later that month blocked its operation.

In August 2022, the sports betting agreement was back in consideration and supported by the Biden administration. In June 2023, sports betting became legal for Tribes in Florida, but in August, West Flagler Associates filed a rehearing petition.

The case moved to the state's Supreme Court in September, and earlier this week the Biden administration encouraged the court to advance the ruling to allow sports betting in Florida.

Now, an unsigned order shows that court justices have rejected West Flagler Associates and its associated casinos’ request to put the DC Circuit court ruling on hold. Justices were in agreement that the DC Circuit court opinion clarifies the nature of the Tribal sports betting compact and its relationship to IGRA.

The compact authorizes gambling on Tribal lands only, but if the Seminole Tribe were allowed to conduct sports betting outside of its land, it “propose serious constitutional questions” if others were prohibited from operating this way.

Justices have not addressed the issue of challenging a state law, as this was not part of the case presented to the court. Though sports betting operated by the Seminole Tribe and Hard Rock Bet could relaunch, West Flagler Associates also has until December 11 to file a writ of certiorari petition with the Supreme Court.


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