Florida Sports Betting Stays Sidelined For Now After New Filing

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Florida sports betting

West Flagler Associates on Monday filed a petition for a rehearing en banc in their sports betting case against the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the US Department of the Interior

The move just prior to Monday’s deadline had been expected, two legal experts previously told LSR. Yet this pathway is considered a long shot, and does not automatically grant a stay. 

That means the Seminole potentially still could proceed with relaunching Hard Rock Sportsbook for FL sports betting before the Sept. 7 start of the upcoming NFL season, if the court issues a quick ruling. 

Seminole on Florida sports betting case

On June 30, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously overturned a District Court decision that blocked sports betting in the Sunshine State

The tribe put out a statement noting as much on Monday, via a spokesperson: 

“It’s important to note the three Judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a unanimous decision in favor of the US Department of the Interior, which approved the Gaming Compact between the Seminole Tribe and the State of Florida.”

Florida sports betting timeline changes

At that time, the judgment was not likely to become a mandate for 52 days, meaning Aug. 21.

This move will push that date back, as it requires seven days from a resolution – for example, Aug. 22 if the decision came Tuesday.

It would take a quick decision from the court. However, the start of NFL betting is still in play.

West Flagler case centered on IGRA

West Flagler’s argument centers on its interpretation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, according to a 63-page brief

“The Opinion departs from this prior case law by holding that a tribe and state may use the IGRA process to obtain Secretarial approval of a compact purportedly authorizing a tribe to conduct gaming statewide, i.e., predominantly off of Indian lands. It says the Secretary may provide such approval even where—as here—the law of the state prohibits the type of gambling in question if conducted off of Indian lands.”

In the appeal, West Flagler argues that the approval of the compact violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. One legal expert told LSR the argument amounts to, “You’re giving the tribes the ability to offer sports betting. We aren’t allowed to. That’s discriminatory against us. But that’s not traditionally a successful argument.”

Next steps if petition denied

The success of an en banc rehearing is thought to be very low. Therefore, if the petition was denied, they would then have two options:

West Flagler could then argue in state court that Florida never actually legalized sports betting, but just signed a compact. If they did authorize it, because of Amendment 3, it would be required to go to the ballot box