West Flagler Files Petition Against Recent Florida Sports Betting Ruling

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Written By Giovanni Shorter | Last Updated
Florida Sports Betting

As the deadline approached for West Flagler to appeal the D.C. Circuit Court ruling to uphold the Florida sports betting compact, West Flagler and Associates officially filed their petition. This filing came yesterday afternoon on the final day to appeal, a true buzzer beater. Now, the hopes for mobile sportsbooks in Florida to launch during the 2023 football season have dimmed.

What The Petition Means For Florida Sports Betting

The petition calls for a rehearing of the unanimous decision made by the three-judge panel in June. Florida sports betting launched back in 2021 but was shut down after the initial lawsuit brought on by West Flagler. The June 2023 ruling opened the door for wagering to return to the Sunshine State.

West Flagler argues that the opinion contradicts the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). The argument surrounds the Florida Seminoles offering online betting despite the compact stating betting must occur on Indian lands.

“The Opinion is erroneous and will create confusion, and thus rehearing is warranted. The Opinion relies on an interpretation of an IGRA provision itemizing the ancillary subject matters that are permissible in an IGRA compact,” wrote West Flagler.

According to sports betting attorney Daniel Wallach, this move by West Flagler is only the beginning.

“This doesn’t strike me as a vehicle for success,” Wallach said. “It’s a necessary step that West Flagler took in order to keep the tribe from relaunching their sportsbook to be able to live to fight another day because ultimately, the real battleground for this is the U.S. Supreme Court.”

What This Means For Sports Wagering In Florida Going Forward

The only thing the Florida Seminole Tribe can do now is wait. Another three-judge panel must vote in favor of a rehearing for one to occur, according to Wallach. He called that unlikely.

“I would put the likelihood in between slim and none.”

The Seminoles issued a response to the petition: “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.”

It could take weeks for the D.C. Circuit Court to respond with a decision to this petition. In the interim, local Florida sports betting fans will likely not see any sportsbooks active. If the petition fails, Wallach believes that West Flagler’s next move will involve the Supreme Court.

It seems that Florida is only in the early stages of the second battle for sports wagering.