Legal Battle Over Sports Betting in West Flagler Drags On

In 2021, the Seminole Tribe and Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida entered a gaming compact that allowed the Tribe to conduct online sports betting within the state as long as the computer servers were located on Indian lands. However, a prolonged legal battle ensued when West Flagler Associates, a pari-mutuel company, filed a lawsuit claiming that the compact violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).

After years of legal disputes, the US Supreme Court partially resolved the issue in November, supporting a decision by the DC Circuit US Court of Appeals that allowed sports betting to be conducted on Indian lands but not online. In December, following the Supreme Court’s decision, the Seminole Tribe relaunched Hard Rock Bet as the sole betting platform available in the state.

However, despite this apparent resolution, West Flagler Associates has continued the fight by filing a writ of certiorari with the US Supreme Court challenging the legality of the gaming compact. The company questions whether the Department of Interior was right to permit the compact, including online sports betting outside of tribal lands, under IGRA.

The writ of certiorari includes several questions for the Supreme Court, such as whether the compact violates the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act by allowing sports betting from locations outside of tribal lands and whether it violates the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause by granting a monopoly to a single Indian tribe.

Furthermore, West Flagler raises the issue of whether the compact under IGRA can extend to a monopoly of online sports betting across Florida outside of Tribal lands. Despite this legal effort, it remains to be seen whether the US Supreme Court will review the challenge.

Overall, the gaming compact between the Seminole Tribe and Florida continues to be embroiled in legal controversy as West Flagler Associates challenges its legality.