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Appeals Court Rules Greenlights Florida Sports Betting to Re-Launch

Written by: Michael Savio
Published September 13, 2023
6 min read
Court Greenlights Florida Sports Betting to Relaunch

A US Court of Appeals rejected a request for an en banc hearing over Florida sports betting rights, greenlighting the industry to re-launch in the Sunshine State. While there is nothing official on when sports betting will go live, the industry will legally be able to launch starting on September 18. 

The ruling is the latest step in a drawn-out battle between Florida and a pair of pari-mutuel betting locations represented by West Flagler Associates. The issue in question revolves around the right to offer sports betting in Florida. The state awarded sole rights to the Seminole Tribe, citing the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). The industry was briefly launched but was almost immediately put on pause after West Flagler’s legal challenge. 

West Flagler has argued that the IGRA only applied to gaming on Tribal land, which would not include mobile sports betting. They won their first legal challenge, but it was overturned. West Flagler then filed an en banc request, which would have a full appeals court re-hear the case and keep Florida sports betting on pause

That request was denied on Monday, with the court issuing one single sentence in their response: 

“Upon consideration of appellees’ petition for rehearing en banc, the response thereto, and the absence of a request by any member of the court for a vote, it is ORDERED that the petition be denied.”

Next Steps for the Florida Sports Betting Industry

After the Court’s ruling, the Seminole Tribe has the OK to launch their Hard Rock Sportsbook on September 18. While they may require more time to launch the sportsbook, they do have a platform built that should be ready to launch quickly. The Tribe and Florida will be incentivized to get this launched quickly to capitalize on the NFL season

However, things may not be that simple.

West Flagler still has the option to appeal the case to the US Supreme Court. While the nation’s highest court only hears around 1% of cases, they could elect to take this one, given that other states are dealing with similar arguments. That includes Washington, which has sports betting expansion on hold thanks to a near-identical legal challenge. The amount of money at stake could lead the Supreme Court to step in.

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Michael Savio

485 Articles

Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid and has turned that into a successful career. He cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams along with his Alma Mater Arizona State. He specializes in baseball betting, but has experience in football, basketball, and hockey as well. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children.

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