Fight Over Florida Sports Betting in Federal Court Likely Over Fight Over Florida Sports Betting in Federal Court Likely Over
freepik

My personal belief is that the Seminole Tribe will wait until all delay tactics are extinguished so it can avoid relaunching only to have the rug potentially pulled out from under it again

A federal appellate court has denied a motion for a stay by two parimutuels opposed to sports betting in Florida while they appeal to the US Supreme Court.

Unless the high agrees to hear the case on appeal, Thursday’s order by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is likely the last word on the matter in federal court.

That leads to the question — will the Seminole Tribe launch their sportsbook, Hard Rock Bet, before the lawsuit that West Flagler and Bonita Fort-Myers filed with the Florida Supreme Court on Monday plays out? Or will they wait until there is a final resolution on the matter?

“My personal belief is that the Seminole Tribe will wait until all delay tactics are extinguished so it can avoid relaunching only to have the rug potentially pulled out from under it again,” Darren Heitner, founder of Heitner Legal PLLC and an adjunct professor of sports law at the University of Florida, told pokerfuse in an exclusive on Thursday.

Hard Rock Gaming, the gaming company for the Seminole Tribe, launched Hard Rock Sportsbook on November 1, 2021. But they had to take the platform down three weeks later after a district court judge ruled its launch illegal. The Seminole Tribe rebranded Hard Rock Sportsbook and Hard Rock Bet this past July.

betmgm sports us
Last verified: June 2024
Special Signup Offer
Get up to $1,500 in Bonus Bets!*
  • Welcome offer activates if your first bet loses
  • Great mobile betting experience
  • Variety of betting markets on offer

*Except NY & NV. Bonus Bets Expire in 7 Days. One New Customer Offer Only. Additional terms apply.

Please play responsibly. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800 GAMBLER.

“I do envision a launch in the near future, as West Flagler is quickly running out of options to serve as a frustration for what is bound to be legal sports betting in Florida,” Heitner said. “If I were permitted to bet on it, I’d put a lot of money on West Flagler losing in state court.”

Florida-based attorney Daniel Wallach posted on X, formerly Twitter, that West Flagler would likely file and emergency application with the US Supreme Court right away. Because of that, there was the likelihood for quite a spectacle — the issue of whether or not there should be legal sports betting in Florida argued simultaneously at the high court and in Florida.

Legal Challenge Now Moves to Florida

With the move in appellate court, all eyes are now on Florida.

“The motion for a stay was denied,” Jeff Ifrah of Ifrah Law PLLC told pokerfuse on Thursday. “DC strategy is dead now. On to Florida!”

The stay rejected Thursday was requested by West Flagler Associates and the Bonita-Fort Myers Corporation on September 15. It was four days after the court had rejected the plaintiffs’ request for a rehearing.

Gaming industry experts at the time emphasized that there was no guarantee that the appellate court would issue a stay, nor was it a given that the US Supreme Court would take the case.

But there were also rumblings that the plaintiffs could take their case to state court, considering one of their main arguments has been that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the state legislature exceeded their authority when they allowed the Seminole Tribe a monopoly on sports betting in the Sunshine State.

Ironically, the US Department of Interior (DOI), a target of the parimutuels in federal court, echoed the argument that the plaintiffs should have sued in state, rather than federal, court as part of their filing in appellate court on Monday opposing a stay.