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West Flagler Will Decide if They Will Appeal Florida Sports Betting Appeals Court Decision

Written by: Michael Savio
Published August 14, 2023
6 min read
West Flagler Decides on Appeal to Florida Sports Betting Court Decision

Today marks the final day West Flagler Associates can appeal a federal court decision that gave the Seminole Tribe complete control over the sports betting industry in Florida. The group temporarily stopped sports betting in Florida through legal challenges, but a recent decision may bring that to an end. West Flagler has argued that the state’s decision to award the Seminole sole sports betting rights was incorrect. They believe Florida has misinterpreted the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and created a monopoly in the process.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was enacted by Congress in 1998 and paved the way for Tribal Casinos in the US. The Act has suddenly become a hot button across the country as a few states, like Florida, have used it to hand sports betting rights to local Tribes. There is no federal regulation around this issue, which makes this case all the more critical.

While West Flagler was able to win a ruling that put a pause on the industry with the state, they lost an Appeals Court decision last month. In the ruling, Judge Robert Wilkins stated that he believed the lower court erred in its original ruling.

“IGRA does not prohibit a gaming compact — which is, at the bottom, an agreement between a tribe and a state — from discussing other topics, including those governing activities outside Indian lands,” Wilkins wrote. “The District Court erred by reading into the Compact a legal effect it does not (and cannot) have, namely, independently authorizing betting by patrons located outside of the Tribe’s lands.”

The decision allows the Sunshine State to resume accepting sports bets starting on August 21 if Flagler does not appeal today.

West Flagler’s Decision Could Change the Industry

While this legal battle only affects Florida, eyes from around the country will be following it closely. States like Washington are having a similar debate, and a federal ruling from this case could bring those battles to an end. If Flagler does not appeal, it will make it far harder to prevent other states from following Florida’s lead. If they do appeal, a win would set a federal precedent that would make it hard for states to apply the Indian Gaming Regulation Act in the same way.

The US sports betting industry will feel the results regardless of what West Flagler decides today. 

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Michael Savio

423 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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