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West Flagler mulls Supreme Court appeal after rehearing denied

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The DC Circuit Court of Appeals has denied West Flagler’s rehearing request. Now, the plaintiff must decide whether or not to take the case to the Supreme Court.

The court’s response was a single sentence to West Flagler’s petition. This is the latest development for two operators of parimutuel gambling who are challenging the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s Compact with the State of Florida.

The court issued a statement that read: “Upon considering the appellees’ petition for rehearing in banc, their response, and the fact that no member requested a vote from the court, ORDERED the denial of the petition.”

West Flagler was seeking an “en banc” rehearing. This means that the case will be heard by all the judges of the court instead of just the three who ruled on the original West Flagler Associates Ltd. v. Haaland case.

In the end, the Seminoles were allowed to provide mobile sports betting throughout the entire state by affirming the legality at the federal level of the “hub-and-spoke” model of the State. The opinion stated that the Compact could be challenged by state courts.

A spokesperson for the Seminoles said, “The Seminole Tribe of Florida was pleased that the US Circuit Court of Appeals District of Columbia denied the request for en banc.”

Many legal commentators expected the request for a rehearing, but were skeptical that it would be successful. In the DC Circuit it is rare to have a successful en banc petition approved. Only a few of these requests were granted in recent years.

In its response, the US Department of Interior reacted to the petition by calling out “strawman arguments and erroneous statements”.

West Flagler will look at the Supreme Court as a next step.

Speculations have been made that West Flagler, having exhausted all of its appeal options with the DC Circuit Court, will now file an appellate case before the US Supreme Court.

Jeff Ifrah is the founding member of Ifrah Law. He said, “It’s not hard to file and prepare an appeal.”

I suspect West Flagler will do this and seek to stay the case until the US Supreme Court makes a decision on whether or not they want the case. A stay would be in effect until December if the request is granted.

A second stay could complicate Hard Rock Bet’s relaunch, as it has been inactive due to legal disputes since December 2021.

Hard Rock’s relaunch is still uncertain

Ifrah said that there is a good chance that a guest’s stay will influence when an operator plans to launch its website.

Hard Rock will most likely wait for the official decision from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals (also known as a “mandate”), which will depend on whether West Flager files an appeal and whether a stop is ordered to maintain the District Court decision,” he explained.

The fact that this all happens at the beginning of the NFL, the most popular season for sports betting, could also be a factor in whether Hard Rock decides to wait until the legality is finalized and continue its sidelined position.

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