Florida Online Sports Betting Delayed by US Supreme Court

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The US Supreme Court has given the green light to an application from two Florida betting operators, West Flagler Associates and the Bonita-Fort Myers Corporation, to temporarily stop the launch of online sports betting in the state.

By granting the application, the Court has created doubt over the future of sports betting in Florida. It is the latest development in a dispute over the legality of Florida’s gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe.

Supreme Court Decision Halts Launch of Sports Betting

The order was signed by Chief Justice John Roberts and it cites the ruling given by the DC Circuit in the West Flagler v. Haaland case. This prevented the Seminole Tribe of Florida from launching sports betting statewide until the court had ruled on the case. The Department of the Interior has a deadline of 5pm on October 18 to reply to the application from West Flagler.

Regardless of what the court rules, there is very little chance of the Seminoles relaunching sports betting in the near future through the Hard Rock brand. Previously, it was thought that sports betting would be live for the early stages of the NFL season.

A Potentially Long Road Ahead

West Flagler, in its application for a stay filed on October 6, indicated its intent to submit a formal writ of certiorari, a request for case review, by November 20 at the latest. If the court chooses to hear the case, it could take years to resolve.

The core of the issue is whether the federal government had the jurisdiction to approve the Seminoles’ gaming compact. Approved by Governor Ron DeSantis in May 2021, the compact grants the tribe exclusive permission to manage mobile sports betting within the state. Under this agreement, mobile bets made outside tribal land would be processed through tribal servers in accordance with the so-called “hub-and-spoke.”

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