Following the latest setback in the FL sports betting case brought forth by the Bonita Springs Poker Room and Magic City Casino challenging the state’s gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe, only one stop remains – the Supreme Court of the United States.
On September 11th, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied the plaintiff’s request for an en banc hearing, setting the stage for what will be the final word on legal sports betting in Florida going forth.
The nine-panel of Justices of the SCOTUS will render a final ruling on whether web-based gambling occurs on the server or on the device that was used to place the bet.
A lower court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, but when brought before the U.S. Court of Appeals, a panel of three judges found language in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) that authorized gambling on and off tribal lands.
After the September 11, 2023, en banc hearing denial, the only remaining move became a request for a hearing in front of the Supreme Court.
All sports betting operations in Florida have been closed since late 2021 while these legal issues were ongoing. What’s strange is that in-person sports betting is not being challenged, yet sportsbook windows in FL are shuttered.
Mobile sportsbook apps and online sports betting sites that are hosted by Hard Rock Bet are what’s in dispute. The Seminole Tribe of Florida is playing it safe while these legal challenges proceed, keeping these sportsbooks closed to avoid infuriating any presiding judges.
“This understanding contradicted Congress’ clear intent in enacting IGRA, which was to provide for gaming ‘on Indian lands,’ not to provide a means to introduce internet gaming statewide… These holdings depart from all other courts’ interpretation of IGRA and allow for its misuse in a manner that Congress did not and could not have intended. As such, it raises a ‘substantial question’ warranting Supreme Court review”
Hamish Hume – Attorney For Magic City Casino And Bonita Springs Poker Room
Counsel for the South Florida gambling entities that are challenging the compact believe that the IGRA has been misinterpreted and that mobile and online sports betting off of tribal lands is a violation of the Act.
There is also the Florida Consitution to consider, where language suggests that a statewide vote is required for the expansion of gambling of any kind.
No hearing date has been announced at this time.