West Flager en banc petition could delay Florida sportsbook relaunch

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A new motion in the ongoing case of West Flagler and Associates against both the Department of the Interior and the Seminole Tribe will continue after all. West Flagler waited until the last day of the 45-day window it had to file for a rehearing in the case, which challenges the legality of the compact between the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe to offer online sports betting in the state.

“The Opinion departs from this prior case law by holding that a tribe and state may use the IGRA process to obtain Secretarial approval of a compact purportedly authorizing a tribe to conduct gaming statewide, i.e., predominantly off of Indian lands. It says the Secretary may provide such approval even where—as here—the law of the state prohibits the type of gambling in question if conducted off of Indian lands,” the petition said of the Circuit Court’s opinion that the compact did not violate the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).

In June, the US District Court of Appeals DC Circuit court issued a ruling siding with the Seminole. However, the scope of the ruling did open up the possibility to challenge the legality of what the compact allows at the state level.

West Flagler has filed a petition for an en banc rehearing. With this petition, the potential relaunch date of Hard Rock Sportsbook in Florida goes back into flux. Had West Flagler not filed a petition, the Seminole would be able to relaunch in the state on Aug. 22, 52 days after the hearing.

Now, the potential launch date is contingent on the end of the appeals request. If the petition is granted or denied, the stay on the launch of sports betting in the state will have to wait until seven days after the case is settled.

Should the court summarily deny the request in short order, that could leave enough time for Hard Rock Sportsbook Florida to be up and running in time for football season. However, if the petition is granted, it could extend the delay of launch for a lengthy period.

If granted, all the active judges on the DC Circuit Court would rehear the case.

Moreover, if the petition is denied, the option to appeal it to the Supreme Court remains. It has been over two years since the DC Circuit Court has granted an en banc hearing.