Supreme Court Conferences On Florida Sports Betting Case

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Florida sports betting

The US Supreme Court will soon decide whether it will hear the Florida sports betting case after a scheduled Thursday conference regarding West Flagler Associates v. Department of the Interior

A decision whether the Supreme Court will hear the Florida sports betting case could come June 17 or June 24.

The case relates to the whether the Seminole Tribe of Florida can legally offer sports betting in the state.

Florida sports betting hearing chances

Gaming legal expert John Holden told LSR in May that the odds the Supreme Court elects to hear the case “remain very low.” 

The Supreme Court hears approximately 70-80 cases every year, or fewer than 2% of the petitions it gets. 

If the Supreme Court does decide to proceed, the case would be decided sometime in 2025

Florida sports betting framework

The Seminole Tribe of Florida possesses what is basically a monopoly on sports betting in the Sunshine State. Its gaming compact was negotiated with Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2021.

The tribe is authorized to offer legal online sports betting via a model where wagers can be placed anywhere in Florida through cellphones and computers via servers on tribal land.

West Flagler attempting challenge

West Flagler is trying to challenge that monopoly and framework with the Supreme Court. 

“This factual description conflicts with the D.C. Circuit’s holding that the compact should be ‘interpreted’ as not authorizing any off-reservation gambling,” West Flagler argues.  

A Florida Supreme Court has already denied a petition from West Flagler that challenged the state’s gaming compact, including sports wagering. 

Hard Rock Bet still taking wagers

The Seminole relaunched online sports betting on Hard Rock Bet in November 2023.

 In-person sports betting began at six Seminole-owned casinos a month later. 

Hard Rock CEO Jim Allen has acknowledged a SCOTUS loss is possible.

Equal protection argument

West Flagler is attempting to make arguments surrounding the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, and equal protection, as laid out by Justice Brett Kavanaugh

“DOI basically comes out and says that there isn’t an equal protection issue. But Kavanaugh has a particular view of equal protection. Are there four other votes on the court on this statute that’s pushing 40 years old, that they haven’t found before? Maybe,” Holden said in May.

“And certainly we’ve seen this rendition of the Supreme Court be less afraid than past courts to sort of address long-standing precedent. But at the same time, I think there’s a real outside shot there that this is an issue.” 

Photo by AP/Mark Schiefelbein