Florida Sports Betting Could Return As Supreme Court Denies Stay

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Written By Giovanni Shorter | Last Updated
Florida Sports Betting

West Flagler’s attempt to stop sports betting from relaunching in Florida has taken another loss in court. The U.S. Supreme Court has denied the stay mandate request. This request would pause the D.C. Circuit Court ruling, while the case is in flux in the U.S. Supreme Court. There is now nothing legally preventing the Seminole Tribe from re-launching its Hard Rock Sportsbook in Florida.

Are Florida Sportsbooks Incoming?

It is unclear if the Florida Seminoles will relaunch their Hard Rock Sports app and begin retaking action. The tribe has stated they had no plans to relaunch, but this was while West Flagler was pushing for a stay mandate. Now that the stay has been denied, the tribe can legally launch their operation.

“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,” said a Florida Seminole Tribe spokesperson.

What is likely is that the tribe is waiting until the entire court case is resolved before returning. A worst-case scenario would be that the Seminoles launch sports betting and then have to shutter their operations yet again.

While recent legal rulings have been in the Seminoles’ favor, West Flagler did manage to gain one victory in the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice To Grant Certiorari For West Flagler

Chief Justice Brett Kavanaugh expressed concerns over the Florida sports betting compact. It is likely Kavanaugh would grant certiorari, which is necessary for the case to be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“If the compact authorized the Tribe to conduct off-reservation gaming operations, either directly or by deeming off-reservation gaming operations to somehow be on-reservation, then the compact would likely violate the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act,” said Kavanaugh.

West Flagler would need five total yes votes for certiorari. Even if they are denied in the U.S. Supreme Court, Kavanaugh’s comments could pave the way for West Flagler’s next steps. If they fail in the U.S. Supreme Court, the case will likely head to the Florida Supreme Court.

The argument will be around the merits of the compact and whether it violates the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).

“Far from identifying a basis sufficient to justify such discrimination, the off-reservation and online sports betting provisions of the 2021 Compact are based on the transparent legal fiction that conduct is ‘deemed’ to take place somewhere it does not,” said representatives from West Flagler.

This would be the third lawsuit raised by Wes Flagler on the sports betting compact.