Florida Sports Betting: Seminole Tribe, DOI Respond To West Flagler

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Written By Giovanni Shorter | Last Updated
Florida Sports Betting

The Hard Rock Sportsbook saga in Florida continues, as the Seminole Tribe of Florida looks to get its monopoly on sports betting in the state back up and running. The Seminole Tribe and the Department of Interior (DOI) have both responded to West Flagler’s request for a rehearing. West Flagler put in the request after the D.C. Circuit Court ruled in favor of the Seminoles Florida sports betting gaming compact. The court ordered the Seminole Tribe to respond to the request, showing some interest in the rehearing.

Florida And DOJ View West Flagler’s Request As Unwarranted

The Seminole Tribe released a 25-page response to the court. Here, the tribe highlighted the fact that the initial ruling in their favor was voted on unanimously. Additionally, the tribe discussed the fact that a rehearing like this only occurs under the rarest of circumstances. This case does not warrant those rarities according to the tribe.

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

The D.C. Circuit Court ruled to uphold the Florida gaming compact which grants the Seminole Tribe exclusive rights to run sports betting. The compact was signed by the Secretary of Interior and the Seminoles explained that the secretary had no reason to disapprove of the compact. Since the compact was signed, the compact is solid.

The DOI also responded to West Flagler’s request for a rehearing. According to the DOI, the arguments for rehearing are “strawman, premised on its erroneous assertion that, by referencing the state-sanctioned wagers, the Compact — and the Secretary’s approval thereof — purport to unilaterally legalize the placement of those wagers and the State regime for regulating them.”

What Is Next For The Case?

The D.C. Circuit Court will review these responses in tandem with the request to determine if a rehearing is warranted. This will delay the potential launch of Florida sportsbooks even further. It is unlikely that there will be a response from the court ahead of the NFL season.

If a rehearing is approved, then the fate of Florida’s betting compact will remain in the balance. Even if the request is denied, West Flagler could look to take things to the Supreme Court. It is currently unknown how long this process will take for a decision on Florida sports betting.

“West Flagler responded by suing the Secretary of the Interior — who has no control over what gaming Florida permits on non-Indian land within its borders — because the Secretary did not disapprove a Tribal-State gaming compact addressing, among other topics, how the Tribe will treat state-sanctioned wagers placed from non-Indian land once received by the Tribe via servers located on Indian land,” wrote representatives from the Department of Interior.

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