The Department of the Interior filed its response to West Flagler Associates’ request for an en-banc rehearing, in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals case that determines the fate of sport betting in Florida.
The DOI reiterated a number of points that were made in the previous arguments. The DOI also referred to the Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision that ruled in favor of Seminole Nation of Florida and the DOI, which overturned the District Court decision. The department’s position was summarized in the introduction of the response:
“West Flagler’s arguments for reconsideration are strawmen. They are based on the erroneous claim that by referencing state sanctioned bets, the Compact – and the Secretary’s approval of it – purports to unilaterally legalize both the placing of these wagers and State regimes for regulating them. West Flagler admits that the panel’s conclusion was that the Compact did not accomplish this. The panel made it clear that its opinion or the Secretary’s approval did not prevent West Flagler from challenging Florida’s relevant state law in Florida’s court. “A rehearing of the case is not warranted.”
Next, the court will consider West Flagler’s motion as well as the DOI’s response to decide whether to grant or deny a rehearing. Rehearings en banc are rare, so West Flager has little chance of winning.
The Seminole’s Hard Rock Sportsbook will remain offline in Florida the longer it takes the court to deliberate. The petition for a second hearing has prevented the brand from relaunching. It is unlikely, but not impossible, that the NFL season in Florida will start without online betting.