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US Department of the Interior Files Objection to Florida Sports Betting Stay Request

Written by: Michael Savio
Published September 27, 2023
6 min read
Objection to Florida Sports Betting Stay Request

The saga of sports betting in Florida took another turn this week as the Department of the Interior (DOI) filed an objection to an effort to keep the industry on hold. The move comes after West Flagler, representing two retail pari-mutuel betting locations, requested the court stay sports betting in Florida until the Supreme Court can consider their case. If the court grants the request, it would once again put the Seminole Tribe’s sports betting launch on hold until the Supreme Court either takes the case or elects not to hear it.

West Flagler has argued that Florida erred in their decision to award the Seminole Tribe sole rights to their sports betting market. The state cited the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) when doing so. Still, West Flagler has argued that the act only applies to gaming on Tribal lands and, therefore, would not cover mobile gaming.

The Department of the Interior, which reviews and approves each state’s gambling compact, has objected to West Flagler’s argument throughout the process. They filed an argument against West Flagler when their last appeal failed, and now they are pushing to end the case.

“This Court reached a narrow, case-specific holding about the meaning of particular in one particular Compact under the Indian Gaming Regulator Act (IGRA). DOI attorney Rachel Heron said in their objections. “Its decision makes explicitly clear that the Compact does not purport to and, as a matter of law, could not authorize the gaming activities outside Indian land that West Flagler believes are illegal and that West Flagler’s dispute is instead with the Florida law that does authorize these activities.” 

West Flagler will have until October 2 to respond to the DOI’s request.

Florida Pushing for Quick Sports Betting Launch

The good news for Florida and the Seminole Tribe is that their platform, Hard Rock Bet, is already live in other states. That means it has been tested and improved, making it ready to launch in the Sunshine State. Both parties will be motivated to get the platform up quickly to capture revenue from the NFL season, which is the busiest time for all sportsbooks.

There is a good chance they will get their wish, thanks partly to the DOI’s support. The US Supreme Court only hears about 1% of cases, and West Flagler’s case does not appear to warrant the Court’s time. 

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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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