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A US Appeals Court issued a Thursday deadline for the Seminole Tribe to respond to a petition in their battle for sports betting rights in Florida. The petition, which West Flagler Associates filed, challenges the Tribe’s rights to run the sports betting industry in the Sunshine State. West Flagler has argued that the state misapplied the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) when they awarded the Seminole Tribe with the sole rights to run the sports betting industry in Florida. The industry continues to be on pause until this petition is resolved.
This deadline is the latest step in a long and drawn-out battle. While sports betting officially launched in the state two years ago, the industry was paused quickly when West Flagler began their legal challenge. They briefly won in a lower court, but an appeal by the Seminole tribe was upheld, leading West Flagler to petition to appeal the ruling. The US Appeals Court has issued an August 31 deadline for Seminole to respond to the petition before deciding if they will hear the case.
If the Appeals Court decides to take the case, it will further push the launch of sports betting in the state. However, if they do not elect to hear the case, it would once again open the door for the Seminole Tribe to offer mobile sports betting.
It is rare for an Appeals Court to request both parties' responses before deciding if they will take a case. They usually review the case file and petition and then make a decision. The unusual move is likely due to the importance of this case on a national level. While this legal battle only covers Florida, the final ruling could alter the sports betting industry across the country. A win for the Tribe would open up a legal avenue for Tribes in other states to push for sports betting rights under the IGRA, cutting into the profits of sportsbooks like DraftKings and FanDuel.
We have already seen this issue arise in Washington as well, where local Tribes are arguing for mobile sports betting rights based on the IGRA. A ruling from a Federal Court on the Florida Case will likely be cited in the Washington lawsuit and could determine how that case plays out.
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.More info on Michael Savio
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