Government Responds in Florida Sports Betting Case

The US Department of the Interior filed its response to West Flagler Associates’ petition for a writ of certiorari before the US Supreme Court on Monday regarding the ongoing tussle over legal sports betting in Florida.

In the filing, DOI continues to reassert that the pre-Internet Indian Gaming Regulatory Act should be considered an expandable document allowing for tribes to pursue new economic opportunities and that the so-called “hub-and-spoke” model underway in Florida is legal.

DOI writ

 

“The petition for a writ of certiorari should be denied.
Respectfully submitted.”
ELIZABETH B. PRELO

Solicitor General

West Flagler Associates and the owners of Bonita Springs Poker Room have been litigating against the DOI and the state of Florida since the Seminole Tribe of Florida gained a monopoly on Florida sports betting with a 30-year compact ratified in 2021. DOI allowed the compact to pass into law with tacit approval despite a revolutionary provision that has allowed it to conduct state-wide mobile sports betting because the servers that handle the bets are housed on tribal lands.

Debate has continued throughout the gambling community about the legality and implications of the paradigm shift even as the Seminoles, via their Hard Rock Bet app, resumed taking wagers in November following a federal court victory that reversed months of losses that forced the app to shut down.

Florida Sports Betting Recent Timeline

  • Nov. 1, 2023: The Seminole Tribe announced a schedule to launch retail sports betting, craps, and roulette at its six casinos in the state.
  • Nov. 7, 2023: Mobile sports betting resumed on Hard Rock Bet app for existing customers.
  • Nov. 7, 2023: West Flagler Associates asked the Florida Supreme Court to temporarily halt sports betting in Florida until the case is adjudicated.
  • Nov. 17, 2023: The Florida Supreme Court denied the request.
  • Nov. 20, 2023: West Flagler’s promised deadline for an official Supreme Court petition. West Flagler asked for an extension to Feb. 4 to allow the Florida litigation to play out.
  • Dec. 1, 2023: The State of Florida’s response deadline in state Supreme Court. The state filed at 11:22 p.m., claiming the suit should be dismissed for various reasons, including that West Flagler shouldn’t have waited two years. It also claimed sports betting isn’t “casino gambling” and applicable under Amendment 3 even though the state had argued it was in 2021.
  • Dec. 1, 2023: The US Supreme Court granted the extension request to Feb. 4 for a writ of certiorari.
  • Dec. 5, 2023: Hard Rock Bet opened mobile sports betting to new customers, two days earlier than previously announced.
  • Dec. 7, 2023: Retail sports betting, craps, and roulette launch date for Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Seminole Classic Casino in Hollywood, and Seminole Casino Coconut Creek.
  • Dec. 8, 2023: Retail sports betting, craps, and roulette launch date for Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa.
  • Dec. 11, 2023: Retail sports betting, craps, and roulette launch date for Seminole Casino Immokalee and Seminole Brighton Casino.
  • Feb. 9, 2024: West Flagler Associates deadline for US Supreme Court petition.
  • March 21, 2024: The Florida Supreme Court denies West Flagler’s motion to shut down mobile sports betting.

READ MORE:

More on Florida Sports Betting

About the Author
Brant James

Brant James

Senior Writer
Brant James is a senior writer who covers the sports betting industry and legislation at Gaming Today. An alum of the Tampa Bay Times, ESPN.com, espnW, SI.com, and USA Today, he's covered motorsports and the NHL as beats. He also once made a tail-hook landing on an aircraft carrier with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and rode to the top of Mt. Washington with Travis Pastrana. John Tortorella has yelled at him numerous times.

Get connected with us on Social Media