The Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court decided sports betting in Florida has to remain on hold for now, pending more information.
Chief Justice John Roberts ordered a temporary stay of the ruling from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals that would have allowed sports betting in Florida to relaunch. The Department of Interior has until Wednesday at 5 pm to respond.
West Flagler, the operator of Bonita Springs Poker Room and the entity suing to stop the Seminole Tribe from offering Florida sports betting, submitted its request for a stay last Friday.
Florida sports betting status quo ‘in public interest’
West Flagler argues that the Seminole Tribe will relaunch the Hard Rock Bet app in Florida unless this stay is granted:
“Absent a stay, the Compact will give rise to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of sports betting transactions that violate both state and federal law before this Court has the opportunity to address the merits. The Circuit Opinion enables a dramatic change in public policy on legalized gaming that, once started, may be difficult to stop.
“It is in the public interest to preserve the status quo with respect to online gaming until such time as this Court has a chance to review Applicants’ petition for a writ of certiorari.”
West Flagler also claims irreparable harm
Bonita Springs is just 21 miles from the Seminole’s Immokalee Casino and 155 miles from Hard Rock Tampa. That means the two companies compete for the same customers.
Giving the Seminole the right to offer sports betting would cause West Flagler irreparable harm, it claims.
“If the Tribe is permitted to launch a statewide online sports betting operation, Applicants (and other non-tribal operators of gaming facilities that cannot offer online sports betting) will be irreparably harmed. Sworn testimony shows that Applicants will suffer lost revenue and profits, increased expenses, and diminished goodwill as a result of the statewide tribal monopoly.
“Further, the loss of customers includes the loss of goodwill, which is generally held to be irreparable.”
Florida sports betting also in state court
The request for a stay from the Supreme Court is the second attempt to get a ruling against the Seminole to prevent Hard Rock Bet from relaunching. West Flagler already lost that request in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.
Late last month, West Flagler took the issue to the Florida Supreme Court to argue that Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state legislature violated the state constitution when he approved the 2021 compact.
The group argues any expansion of gambling must be approved through a referendum supported by 60% of voters.