Florida sports betting officially was punted to 2023 today, based on a timetable released by the court deciding its fate.
The court announced opening briefs from the federal government are due by Aug. 17, about a month away.
After all the written arguments are submitted, the court will set up an oral argument schedule, likely several months later.
The D.C. Circuit has announced the following briefing schedule in the Florida tribal compact sports betting case:
8/17 – Appellants' Opening Briefs
10/6 – West Flagler Response
11/14 – Appellants' Reply Brief
+ oral argument will be held (TBA).
No decision until 2023. pic.twitter.com/nO1LUdevfQ
— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) July 11, 2022
As Wallach, a Florida-based attorney who specializes in sports betting noted in his tweet, this time schedule means no decision on the case until 2023, at the earliest.
Sports Betting Was Legal, Briefly
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis negotiated a compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida to bring sports betting to the state back in May 2021. The legislature approved and the Department of Interior signed off on.
And for about three weeks in November 2021 mobile sports betting was up and running.
The compact mandated the servers operating sports betting would be located on tribal lands. This was meant to satisfy requirements within the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act which stipulates all tribal gaming must be conducted “on Indian lands.”
Opponents to the compact took the measure to court, arguing that a bettor in Jacksonville was not “on Indian lands.”
Judge Dabney Friedrich of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia agreed with the opponents and called the argument regarding the server placement “fiction.”
On Dec. 4, mobile sports betting in Florida was suspended.
Slow Moving Process
The announcement by the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals on Monday was the first movement by the court on the case in months.
Wallach, who has closely followed the case since the compact’s inception, has repeatedly argued it was illegal. In past interviews with Gaming Today he has suggested the case is likely to wind up before the Supreme Court. If that happens, it means sports betting in the state may not take place until 2024 or even 2025.
Lawmakers could rectify the situation by passing a new compact, but experts agree that is unlikely. This is an election year and many do not want to be reminded their past attempt was held up in court.
Regardless of what happens with this case, advocates of mobile sports betting have already put plans in place to have a referendum before the voters in 2024 on the question of sports betting. Their efforts would bring mobile operations to the state, not tied to tribal lands.