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Florida Sports Betting Return Uncertain Following US Supreme Court Decision

A Hard Rock Sportsbook sign next to the Welcome to Florida sign on the highway

The Supreme Court of the United States has denied a request to hear a case regarding the legality of Florida’s gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe. This action should clear the way for the Hard Rock Sportsbook to begin accepting bets over mobile devices and web-connected computers in Florida, but there has been no indication from the Seminoles as to when this will happen.

West Flagler Associates was the plaintiff in the case that challenged the US Department of the Interior, insisting that mobile and online sports betting violates the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in that it allows for wagering to take place off of Native American lands.

A state court agreed with West Flagler, but three federal appellate judges reversed that decision earlier this year.

“The denial of the stay by the U.S. Supreme Court is very good news. The Seminole Tribe of Florida is heartened by this decision.”

Seminole Tribe of Florida Spokesman

The removal of the stay by the SCOTUS would seem to open the door for legal sports betting in Florida to start up once again. The Seminole Tribe could opt to keep Florida sportsbooks closed until all legal matters are wrapped up.

No Casinos is a group that backed a 2018 initiative that requires voter approval for any changes in what types of gambling are allowed to occur in the state.

The group petitioned the Florida Supreme Court to outlaw sports betting in FL and put state-regulated sportsbooks up for a vote. There is language in the 2018 initiative that allows for gambling law changes in FL as long as they are approved by the federal government.

In 2021 when the new compact was signed, it was delivered to the US Department of Interior. The agreement was deemed lawful following the expiration of the review period without objection.

Think of it like an NFL instant replay review where the call stands as opposed to being confirmed. Either way, the result is the same.

While the United States Supreme Court rendered their decision on the matter in short order, prior cases have taken several months to conclude. The FL Supreme Court case is in its infancy and could turn out to be a long, drawn-out battle.

If the SCOTUS stay was upheld, the Hard Rock Casino would have still been able to offer in-person sports betting in their Hollywood (Miami) and Tampa locations. In the Florida Supreme Court case, the entirety of FL sports betting is in play.

Should No Casinos lose their suit in state court, there would be an option to appeal to the US Supreme Court for the final decision.


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