U.S. Supreme Court Grants Extension In Florida Sports Betting Case

U.S. Supreme Court Grants Extension In Florida Sports Betting Case
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court granted an extension for federal lawyers representing the Interior Department in the Florida sports betting case to file their response to the request by two parimutuel gaming operators that the nation’s top court consider their appeal.

The decision means the Solicitor General’s Office will now have through April 12 to submit their argument, which was previously due next Wednesday. Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar asked for the additional month in a letter sent Tuesday to the court.

“This extension is requested to complete preparation of the government’s response, which was delayed because of the heavy press of earlier assigned cases to the attorneys handling this matter,” Prelogar wrote.

West Flager Associates and Bonita-Fort Myers Corp. are suing the Interior Department and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland for allowing the 2021 amended gaming compact between the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe to go into effect. The plaintiffs argue that exclusive statewide sports betting rights, as written in the agreement, violate federal laws, including the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

A federal district judge ruled in favor of West Flagler and Bonita-Fort Myers in November 2021, a decision that led to the tribe shutting down its Hard Rock online sportsbook in the state a month after it launched. The federal government appealed, and the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed the decision last summer.

Hard Rock Bet Florida relaunched in November 2023.

What Does It Mean?

In short, the extension will likely cause the Supreme Court to delay its decision on whether to take on the case. Sports gaming attorney Daniel Wallach, who filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs’ case last month, posted on X that the Supreme Court won’t likely announce whether it will take up the case until late June.

Hard Rock Bet, the only legal Florida sports betting app, will remain available to users 21 and up. However, another case could also affect its continued operation.

West Flagler and Bonita-Fort Myers are suing state officials in the Florida Supreme Court, arguing that the compact and subsequent state law allowing the tribe to offer sports betting violates the state’s constitution. In 2018, voters approved an amendment that requires a public referendum on any gaming expansion taking place off tribal lands.

Both the state and tribe argue that Florida statewide online sports betting takes place on tribal land. Even though the bettor may be physically in Jacksonville, Orlando or elsewhere in the state, the servers processing the bet are located on the Seminoles’ reservation.

It’s uncertain when the state court will render its decision in the case.

Recently, the Interior Department announced new rules to the gaming compact process that would allow other tribes and states to enact similar online gaming agreements. Those rules are expected to take effect later this month.



Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.

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