Gambling Legislation

US Supreme Court to hear Florida sports betting dispute, could impact iGaming

US Supreme Court to hear Florida sports betting dispute, could impact iGaming

Depending on the ruling, Florida might not be able to block online casinos in the state

The Supreme Court of the US has disclosed that it will consider West Flagler Associates’ writ of certiorari request when it meets on Thursday, June 13, to discuss the issue of Florida online sports betting.

If SCOTUS rejects its writ of certiorari, West Flagler would be free to return to state courts to present the case that will have been rejected by the Florida and US Supreme Courts. However, if West Flagler’s writ of certiorari request is accepted, the case could be extended beyond the start of 2025.

West Flagler brought forward its case after a 2021 Florida gaming compact was approved to allow gaming outside tribal lands. The US Department of the Interior (DOI) supports Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland’s decision to approve the agreement.

The 30-year gaming compact gave the Seminole Tribe exclusive rights to offer retail and online sports betting and approval to offer roulette and craps at its casinos. The Seminole Tribe also agreed to pay the state a $500 million yearly fee.

West Flagler attorney Hamish P. Hume recently submitted a brief to SCOTUS stating why the Court of Appeals decision should be overturned. “By contrast, the government effectively concedes that if the compact authorized gaming off Indian lands, then its approval would have violated IGRA and the Court of Appeals’ decision would have conflicted with decisions of this court and other circuits, necessitating review and reversal by this court,” wrote Hume.

Lawyers for the DOI argued that the compact permitting gaming on Indian lands under IGRA could also include agreements between the two parties authorizing gaming outside of Tribal lands. The Seminole has argued that wagers are not “legal” until processed on its servers, which are on tribal land. If the Supreme Court ultimately agrees, Hard Rock’s online casino could come to the Sunshine State.

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