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DOI Responds to Request for Supreme Court to Stay Florida Sports Betting

Written by: Michael Savio
Published October 20, 2023
6 min read
DOI Responds to Supreme Court to Stay Florida Sports Betting

Florida’s sports betting battle took another turn this week when the US Department of the Interior again stepped in. They filed a 30-page response with the US Supreme Court asking them to overturn their temporary stay on sports betting in Florida, which Chief Justice John Roberts issued on October 12. The temporary stay was imposed to allow the nation’s highest court time to determine if a full hold is appropriate. 

The DOI has taken a keen interest in the battle over Florida sports betting rights, siding with the state and pushing for the industry to be cleared to launch once again. They continue to argue that West Flagler, a group representing pari-mutuel betting establishments, has not presented enough to satisfy the requirements to keep sports betting in the Sunshine State on hold. The DOI reviews all gaming compacts, meaning they had already supported Florida’s. 

“The gaming activities on Indian lands, of course, must be separately authorized under IGRA.” Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar said in the filing, “But there is no apparent reason why a tribal-state compact that authorizes gaming activities on Indian lands under IGRA cannot also include provisions that concern the state’s (independent and non-IGRA) authorization to conduct directly related gaming activities in the state on non-Indian lands, even though IGRA and the Tribal-State compact would not independently authorize those related activities.” 

The DOI first involved themselves in this debate last month when they filed an objection with a US Appeals court. Their effort helped restore the gaming compact before The Supreme Court’s recent decision to grant West Flagler a stay.

West Flagler Arguing Compact Is Invalid

West Flagler has made two major arguments in their attempt to undo the current Florida gaming compact. First, they believe the state made a mistake when it applied the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) to give the Seminole Tribe sole betting rights. They believe the act should not apply, as most mobile sports betting will be done off Tribal lands. The IGRA is a law that paved the way for Tribal casinos and gaming, but it only applied to their own land.

Second, West Flagler asserted that Florida violated their constitution by failing to set up a referendum before approving the compact. The Florida constitution calls for a referendum on any gaming expansion in the state, which would include mobile sports betting.

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Michael Savio

477 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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