September 26, 2023 3 min read


DOI Objects to West Flagler’s Request for Stay in Florida Sports Betting Case

West Flagler argues that the court’s decision could undermine the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), but the DOI contends that the decision’s narrow scope does not create such issues

The Florida sports betting case has taken another turn as the Department of the Interior (DOI) objects to West Flagler and Associates’ request for a stay in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals mandate. The court’s decision, which favored the DOI and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, did little to reduce tensions as both sides remained firm in their resolve. 

The heart of the dispute revolves around Florida’s agreement with the Seminole Tribe to offer Hard Rock Bet to Florida residents, specifically off-state lands. While West Flagler has the right to question the nature of this agreement, the DOI asserts that it need not be involved in this matter. Instead, it maintains that this issue is for the state of Florida and state courts to decide.

West Flagler has until 2 October to respond to the DOI’s filings. Subsequently, the court will need to issue a ruling on the stay. If the request gets denied, it could eventually pave the way for the launch of Hard Rock Bet in Florida. The DOI was adamant that the current court ruling was valid, as it clarified a narrow section in one particular Compact under IGRA.

A stay is not warranted because any such petition could present no substantial question for Supreme Court review.

DOI statement

West Flagler has also expressed its intent to petition for a writ of certiorari. The group has until 11 December to file its petition. Following this action, the DOI and the Seminole Tribe will have 30 days to respond before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decides whether to hear the case.

The Future of Florida Sports Betting Hangs in the Balance

The Court of Appeals’ decision will likely decide the future of sports betting in Florida. The Seminole Tribe has reaffirmed that it plans to resume the wagering offering via the Hard Rock brand but cannot proceed without clearing the current legal hurdle. While the case has stretched for months, West Flagler is running out of avenues to contest the court decision, meaning the saga may be nearing its conclusion.

The Seminole Tribe currently holds a 30-year agreement with the state of Florida, granting it a monopoly on all sports betting. The agreement also required the tribe to pay the state a minimum of $2.5 billion over the first five years of the deal. However, the current legal proceedings have put all plans on hold. 

The outcome of this legal battle will have significant implications for the future of sports betting in Florida and provide further clarity on the application of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. While the current situation favors the Seminole Tribe, both sides await the court’s decision on the stay request, as this case’s ultimate resolution remains uncertain.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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