The gaming compact between the Seminole Tribe and Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida, which dates back to 2021, has been the subject of a prolonged legal battle. This compact allowed the Tribe to accept online sports bets across the state, as long as the computer servers were located within Indian lands. However, West Flagler Associates, a pari-mutuel company in the state, filed a lawsuit claiming that the compact violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).
After years of legal proceedings, the US Supreme Court partially resolved the issue in November by upholding a decision of the DC Circuit US Court of Appeals. The Court ruled that the gaming compact allowed sports betting conducted on Indian lands. However, online sports betting was regulated under a separate agreement between the state and the Tribe, to which the IGRA did not apply.
Following the Supreme Court’s decision, the Seminole Tribe relaunched the Hard Rock Bet in early December, making it the only available betting platform in the state. Despite this, West Flagler continues to fight the legal battle by filing a writ of certiorari with the US Supreme Court. The company questions the Department of Interior’s approval of the gaming compact under IGRA, which included online sports betting conducted outside of tribal lands.
In its legal request, West Flagler raises a number of questions for the Supreme Court, including whether the approved gaming compact violates the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. The company also questions whether the compact under IGRA can extend to a monopoly of online sports betting across Florida outside Tribal lands.
It remains to be seen whether the US Supreme Court will further review the legal challenge brought by West Flagler Associates. The outcome of this ongoing legal battle will have significant implications for the regulation of online sports betting in Florida.