West Flagler applies for SCOTUS to hear Florida sports betting case

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West Flagler and Associates has filed an application for the Supreme Court of the United States to hear its case attempting to prevent the Seminole Tribe of Florida from launching sports betting in the state. 

The firm’s litigation at the Federal level has escalated in the last few months, as it attempts to reverse the DC Circuit Court of Appeal’s mandate in the battle over sports betting. 

After a request for a stay motion in its appeal was rejected by the DC Circuit Court, West Flagler indicated that it would take the case to the SCOTUS. 

In its “application for stay of the DC Circuit’s mandate pending petition for certiorari”, West Flagler states that any decision to allow the Seminole Tribe to launch Hard Rock Bet in Florida would undermine IGRA and bring the landmark legislation into disrepute. 

West Flagler argues: “The decision by the DC Circuit raises three questions of exceptional importance: First, the decision raises the question of whether IGRA authorizes the federal approval of a compact that purports to allow a tribe to conduct gambling activities off Indian lands.

“Nothing authorizes the approval of a compact that provides for gambling off Indian lands. As this Court has held: “Everything—literally everything—in IGRA affords tools . . . to regulate gaming on Indian lands, and nowhere else.

“Second, the Circuit Opinion raises the question of whether the UIGEA is violated when an Indian tribe uses the internet to offer gambling in locations outside of its own lands, and in the territory of a state where such gambling is unlawful.

“Third, the Circuit Opinion raises the question whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution is violated by a federal government approval of an IGRA compact in which a state gives an Indian tribe a statewide monopoly to conduct online sports gaming.”

While being a significant moment in a landmark case that will shape the future of Florida’s sports betting prospects, it should be noted that this document is merely a petition to take the case to the SCOTUS.

The court is selective with the cases it chooses to hear and it could be months or years before it is heard. There is also a possibility that it is not heard at all. 

Nevertheless, the petition, which had been anticipated, prevented the Seminole Tribe from launching Hard Rock Bet until resolved. 

West Flagler will file the case within 45 days, but then the waiting game will begin to see if the SCOTUS will ever hear the case. 

Meanwhile, West Flagler is also litigating at the state level, filing a constitutional challenge with the Florida Supreme Court against Gov Ron DeSantis and the Florida legislature for allowing the expansion of gambling in the Sunshine State including sports betting. 

DeSantis signed a compact with the Seminole Tribe back in April 2021, which would see the tribe share 13.8% of revenue with the state. Yet, sports betting was only live for a few weeks in November and December of that year before the federal court challenge shut it down.

The argument goes that the only way to expand gambling in Florida is by a constitutional amendment, therefore another public vote, while it also claims that the compact between the state and Seminole is beyond DeSantis’ authority.