DOI files response on rehearing Florida sports betting case

US DC Circuit Court
Image: Shutterstock / Mark Van Scyoc

The Department of the Interior has filed its response to West Flagler Associatesmotion for an en banc rehearing in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals case that controls the fate of sports betting in Florida.

In the response, the DOI reiterated many of the points elucidated in previous arguments. It also referenced the Circuit Court of Appeals decision ruling in favor of the Seminole Nation of Florida and the DOI that overturned the District Court’s decision. The introduction to the response summed up the department’s stance:

“West Flagler’s arguments for rehearing are strawmen, 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. But, as West Flagler acknowledges, the panel held in no uncertain terms that the Compact does not do that. And the panel did so while making scrupulously clear that neither its opinion nor the Secretary’s approval prevents West Flagler from challenging the relevant State law in Florida’s courts. Rehearing is unwarranted.”

The next steps in the case are for the court to consider both West Flagler’s motion and the DOI’s response before deciding whether or not to grant a rehearing. En banc rehearings are relatively uncommon, so the odds are not in West Flager’s favor.

However, the longer the court deliberates, the longer the Seminole’s Hard Rock Sportsbook remains offline in Florida. The filing of the petition for a rehearing has sidelined the brand from relaunching. With no timetable set on a ruling, it is not certain, but more than likely that the new NFL season will kick off with no online wagering in Florida.