West Flagler Associates Petition Challenges Florida Sports Betting Compact

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The ongoing legal dispute over sports betting in Florida looks set to continue for the foreseeable future. While there was a brief time when sports betting was operational in the state, it is currently suspended while the state’s casinos challenge the sports betting compact signed between Governor Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Casinos Claim Compact Violates Federal Law

In the latest development, West Flagler Associates has filed a petition in the Florida Supreme Court. It alleges that the gambling compact as it stands requires amendments to the state’s constitution because tribal operators are not permitted to provide gambling services outside of their lands.

The petition argues that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act only applies to activities that take place "on Indian lands" and that the compact, which was signed in 2021, gives the Tribe a "monopoly to conduct off-reservation sports betting throughout the state of Florida without voter approval as required." Furthermore, the petition argues that Governor DeSantis exceeded his authority by signing the gambling compact.

The 2021 Compact and Implementing Law is a clear expansion of casino gambling in Florida without a voter-approved constitutional amendment by citizens’ initiative, as required by Article X, Section 30. In so doing, the Respondents have exceeded their authority in direct violation of the Florida Constitution.

StatementWest Flagler Associates Petition

No End in Sight to Legal Battles

In June, Florida’s casinos lost their federal case in front of a three-judge panel. In August, West Flagler suggested there were plans for an en banc hearing of the case, which involves a majority of active service judges rather than a three-judge panel.

While sports betting launched in the state on November 1, 2021, it was only available until December 4, 2021 when a court ruled that the compact violated federal law.

Related: Florida Gives the Go-Ahead for Two More Gambling 2022 Ballot Amendments