For proponents of sports betting in Florida, the Feds would like to have a word regarding new wagering expansion in the state. Per a recent report, the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) pushed back on the idea that a pair of brick-and-mortar gaming facilities lost an appeal in their fight over Florida sports betting. More specifically, this includes the launch of Hard Rock Bet, and the DOI saying that the case needs to be reheard by the entire appellate court. According to the same report, in filing its objection, the DOI is signaling that it intends to fight the assertions that the two parimutuels have been making in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Namely, that the State of Florida and DOI Secretary Deb Haaland violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).
For this article, SBS will be going over the latest gaming news coming from the state of Florida along with more notes and information about Sunshine State betting.
The two plaintiffs in this case, West Flagler Associates and Bonita-Fort Myers Corporation, sued DOI in August 2021 according to the article and this has also been covered in this space before. They alleged that the agency and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had violated IGRA by agreeing to an amended 30-year gaming compact. The parimutuels argued that by allowing wagers off of tribal lands (but not on tribal lands), the compact equated to an illegal expansion of gaming under IGRA. According to the report, a district court judge agreed with the parimutuels in November 2021, but the government appealed. DOI won the next battle though – a three-judge panel from the circuit court ruled in the agency’s favor on June 30.
Moreover, West Flagler and Bonita-Fort Myers filed an en banc petition on August 14, meaning they want all 11 members of the circuit court to rule on the case according to the article. In its filing, the DOI said the arguments being made by the parimutuels for rehearing are “strawmen, premised on its erroneous assertion that, by referencing the state-sanctioned wagers, the gaming compact – and the Secretary’s approval thereof – purport to unilaterally legalize the placement of those wagers and the state regime for regulating them.”
Per the same article, at this point, it is unclear how long it will take before sports betting can resume in Florida. One source said, “It depends – if the court takes the case, it might not (resume). If it declines to hear it, the Seminoles could be back up in no time.” However, the source pointed out “if the court hears the case, it could mean no legal betting in Florida this season.” That means the appeals process could potentially drag on for months. If the DC appellate court upholds the ruling by the three-judge panel or refuses to rehear the case together, the parimutuels could appeal to the US Supreme Court.
However, a refusal by the high court to take the case would likely spell the end of the matter. The Seminole Tribe was making preparations to launch Hard Rock Bet on August 21. This was a little more than two weeks before the start of the NFL season, scheduled for September 7, but the appeal by the plaintiffs scuttled those plans. The Seminole Tribe rebranded its Hard Rock Sportsbook as Hard Rock Bet in July.
After you are all dialed in regarding the latest gaming news coming from Florida, make sure to also check out the wide variety of resources at your disposal via SBS. Of course, if you are looking for more information on the site at hand, check out our Florida sports betting guide which covers all the latest news and updates coming from the Sunshine State. Conversely, if you are maybe uncertain about which payment options are the best for you, then the payment methods breakdown is a great place to learn more. On a final note, for those looking for some higher stakes bets, make sure to check into the VIP sports betting sites rundown. Here you can learn more about the nuances of VIP wagering and if it makes sense for you.