Supreme Court Denies Florida Sports Betting Stay, With A Twist

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Florida sports betting

The US Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a West Flagler Associates request for a stay of mandate in the ongoing Florida sports betting case, while adding interesting commentary looking toward potential future filings.

While West Flagler can still file a cert petition with the Supreme Court and has until Dec. 11 to do so, a legal expert told LSR the decision was a bad omen for its chances moving forward. 

The Seminole Tribe of Florida could turn back on legal Florida sports betting via the Hard Rock Bet app at anytime, though its immediate plans are unclear. 

Tribe on Florida sports betting update

A spokesman for the tribe told LSR in a statement:

“The denial of the stay by the U.S. Supreme Court is very good news.  The Seminole Tribe of Florida is heartened by this decision.”

The spokesperson, however, would not comment on future plans for a possible relaunch. 

Chief Justice Roberts makes decision

Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court granted temporary stay to delay the implementation of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals mandate to reinstate the Seminole compact. 

However, on Wednesday, Chief Justice John Roberts denied the stay. His decision read:

“Application (23A315) for stay presented to The Chief Justice and by him referred to the Court is denied. The order heretofore entered by The Chief Justice is vacated. (Detached Opinion)”

Equal protection argument to come?

Justice Brett Kavanaugh appeared to leave the door open for other arguments related to equal protection.

Kavanaugh wrote

“To the extent that a separate Florida statue (as distinct as the compact) authorizes the Seminole Tribe — and only the Seminole Tribe — to conduct certain off-reservation gaming operations in Florida, the state law raises serious equal protection issues. 

“But the state law’s constitutionality is not squarely presented in this application, and the Florida Supreme Court is in any event currently considering state-law issues related to the Tribe’s potential off-reservation gaming operations.” 

Florida sports betting state case looms

In a separate case, West Flagler is arguing in the state Supreme Court that the Seminole compact, via an agreement with Gov. Ron DeSantis, is in violation of the Florida Constitution

West Flagler’s argument is that expanded gambling must be approved through a referendum by 60% voter support.

The Seminoles have what is basically a monopoly on the Sunshine State’s sports betting market through the gaming accord that was agreed to with DeSantis in 2021