After the US Supreme Court denied West Flagler Associates’ motion for a stay of proceedings, Florida’s Seminole Tribe can now hope for a relaunched sports betting in Florida.
Yesterday (25th October), Chief Justice John Roberts rejected the motion for stay, which the Supreme Court’s official blog described as “an emergency application for stay.”
Brett Kavanaugh said that in a written statement, he was satisfied with the decision of the Supreme Court.
He said: “I agree with the DC Circuit that the application for a stay should be denied, given that the Compact between Florida and Seminole Tribe authorizes the tribe only to operate on the reservation and not outside the reservation,”
The District Court stated that “if the compact authorized the tribe to conduct gaming off-reservation operations either directly or through defining off-reservation operations as being on the reservation, the compact likely would violate the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.”
West Flagler will have until the 11th of December to submit a certiorari writ with the Supreme Court. A certiorari order is issued when a superior court examines a case that was initially heard in a lower level court.
What does it mean to the Seminole Tribe?
Denying that in the future, the Seminoles could be allowed to offer sports betting via Hard Rock Bet. The tribe was allowed to launch sports betting exclusively in Florida in April 2021 when the state governor Ron DeSantis signed a gaming agreement.
The rollout of Hard Rock Bet was halted in December 2021 after District of Colombia ruled the Seminole tribal compact violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The suit brought by West Flagler, Bonita Fort Myers and others questioned whether online sports betting offered statewide on servers located on tribal lands was considered betting on tribal lands.
The DC District Court of Appeals reversed the District of Colombia court’s ruling in June 2023, giving Seminoles full reign again in Florida.
This is the story to date
West Flagler began a back and forth battle with various legal entities. West Flagler requested a hearing in August in the June case that it had lost against Debra haaland, secretary of interior. Circuit Court Judges rejected West Flagler’s claim that Haaland violated Administrative Procedure Act by failing to act on the DeSantis-approved 2021 Compact and allowing the law to become effective after 45 days.
West Flagler filed an appeal against DeSantis in September. They claimed that DeSantis “had exceeded his authority” in approving this compact.
The DC Circuit Court of Appeals denied the parimutuel bettors’ request for a rehearing. West Flagler filed a stay motion before appealing to the Supreme Court.
The DOI challenged the motion for stay by arguing West Flagler did not comply with the certiorari conditions. The DC Circuit Court ultimately denied the motion.
West Flagler, Bonita Fort Myers and Bonita did not seem to be affected by this. The operators asked the Supreme Court earlier this month to stop the Seminole Tribe from launching Hard Rock Bet. The Supreme Court granted the operators request for a short-term stay.