West Flagler Associates has filed an application seeking a Supreme Court extension in its legal battle against Florida sports betting. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
No decision in sight In the latest twist involving the launch of Florida sports betting, West Flagler Associates (WFA) attorneys have filed an application seeking a US Supreme Court extension.
requesting an extension until February 9
In a bid to postpone Florida Seminoles’ monopoly hopes, attorneys for WFA, a Florida parimutuel operator, submitted a seven-page letter requesting an extension until February 9.
This is the latest move in a case that has been going on for nearly three years. WFA is seeking to overturn a June ruling, which saw a three-court judge panel rule in favor of the tribe, agreeing that federal gaming laws allow the Florida state government to enter into the 30-year compact with the Seminoles.
That decision overturned a November 2021 ruling that invalidated the compact. At the time, Hard Rock Bet had already been live in the state for a few weeks, but had to immediately shut down.
What’s happened In 2021, Governor Ron DeSantis legalized sports wagering through a gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Paving the way for online and retail betting, the Department of the Interior (DOI) gave the green light to the 30-year agreement. In return, the tribe would pay the state at least $2.5bn during the first five years of the new compact.
all state-sanctioned gambling needs to take place on tribal land
However, it was short lived after a federal judge ruled that the compact violates the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which says all state-sanctioned gambling needs to take place on tribal land. At the time of the ruling in 2021, Florida officials said that all processed sports bets would go through a server on tribal property. Judge Dabney Friedrich argued that this was “fiction.”
In October 2023, the US Supreme Court issued an order preventing the Seminole Tribe of Florida from launching its Hard Rock Bet sports betting platform after WFA filed a stay request. The DOI had until October 18 to respond.
What now? Following that move from WFA, in late October, DeSantis requested an extension to respond from the state‘s Supreme Court.
The court had ordered DeSantis to respond by November 1, but attorneys for the governor and state leaders requested a 30-day extension to craft a response. At question is whether DeSantis and the Department of the Interior (DOI) exceeded their powers by validating the compact.
This case has been going on for nearly three years and, it appears, with no end in sight as the two sides continue to volley each other. In the meantime, Hard Rock Bet is up and running.