West Flagler sends in important reply brief in Florida gaming case

Updated May 24, 2024
Updated May 24, 2024By Chris Boline
florida betting news may 2024

If you are a regular reader of this space, you are no doubt aware of the potential ramifications of the ongoing sports betting legal battle with West Flagler. Per a recent report, the United States Supreme Court’s decision on whether to intervene in the marathon Florida sports betting litigation grew closer early last week. This was because the parimutuel outlets trying to shut it down, like West Flagler, filed their reply brief to the Department of the Interior. However, John Holden, an associate professor at Oklahoma State and a tribal gaming expert, described the filing as “pretty much what you would expect from a reply brief.” 

In this report, SBS will be going over the latest updates coming from the Sunshine State along with more information regarding Florida gaming updates and beyond

Expert weighs in on importance of West Flagler brief

As noted in the same article, this latest update from West Flagler is pretty standard procedure for cases of this nature. “I didn’t notice anything that jumped out at me like ‘Oh that’s new,’” Holden told one outlet. “I think the Government’s opposition brief hit what I expected them to hit on, and the reply brief here did much the same, arguing that there are issues that merit the Supreme Court taking the case.” 

The professor would go on to elaborate further by noting the nuances of these types of cases and the potential outcome of this gaming endeavor. “While I think the odds of the Supreme Court granting cert are very long, the Equal Protection question raised previously by Justice Kavanaugh now becomes the focal point of the case for many court watchers.” 

Florida gaming saga has been dragging on for months

For those following this case for some time now, you are no doubt aware the West Flagler battle is certainly an important one for gaming developments in the Sunshine State. Per the same report, West Flagler Associates filed a writ of certiorari with the court in February asking it to stop the sports betting operation underway in Florida under the auspices of the Seminole Tribe’s Hard Rock Bet brand. As part of the 30-year deal originally agreed upon in 2021, Hard Rock gained the right to offer mobile sports betting off tribal lands in what was a ground-breaking new application of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act

A series of court victories for West Flagler stopped Hard Rock’s operation after a month. Sports betting however resumed in Florida in December and the Seminole also gained the right to offer craps and roulette in the agreement. In response, West Flagler offered the following summation summary on these developments in a related article.

“The Government is wrong that the Compact cannot itself violate Equal Protection, and that a State can violate Equal Protection only through legislation. It is therefore also wrong to assert that the Federal Government cannot violate Equal Protection by approving a compact that itself violates Equal Protection. To hold otherwise would be to countenance the federal approval of any state contract that expressly promises that the state will engage in racial discrimination.”

Original try for shuttering compact focused on model

As noted in the same report, West Flagler’s original and successful attempt to scuttle the compact focused on the legality of the so-called “hub-and-spoke” mobile model being deployed in Florida. Its petition to the U.S. Supreme Court has shifted to interpretations of the Equal Protection Clause after Kavanaugh mentioned it could be applicable after the court denied a stay request. Holden would further expand on this in the article. 

“The Equal Protection issue is one that a lot of people who are watching this case are really focused on because Justice Kavanaugh brought it back when there was an effort to keep online sports betting offline while the case played out.” Holden said. “While the court denied the stay, Justice Kavanaugh attached a statement where he essentially said. ‘We aren’t granting what you are asking for here, but oh, by the way, there are some Equal Protection questions that might be worth looking at here.’” 

West Flagler attorneys contend that the approval of the compact favored a tribal entity illegal in relation to whether the compact legalized the accepting of bets off tribal lands. Legal observers have weighed in on both sides of whether the Supreme Court should take up or reject the West Flagler case. However, most see its chances as slim as very few writs are accepted each year. Of course, that could change, and given how much this case has been covered since it first started, the outcome is an important one indeed. 

Additional notes and info regarding Florida wagering

Once you are all dialed in regarding the latest gaming news and updates coming from the Sunshine State, make sure to tap into the wide variety of information for you at SBS. Of course, for even more information on the topic at hand, the Florida sports betting guide has your back with all of the latest news coming from the Sunshine State as it relates to gaming. Conversely, for those on the go, a must-read resource is the best betting apps rundown which goes over all of the nuances of mobile betting and how you can stay on top of the action. Finally, if you are interested in some higher stakes wagering, the VIP sports betting sites breakdown is a great page to learn more about VIP betting and if it makes sense for you. 

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About the Author

Chris Boline
Chris Boline

As a devout aficionado of sports, Chris Boline has carved a career within the athletic realm. A skilled scribe, he boasts a decade-long portfolio that encompasses coverage of the NBA G League, the Los Angeles Chargers, football in the Mountain West Conference, and basketball. Beyond his professional pursuits, Chris is deeply invested in his community and dedicates his leisure hours to serving on boards, collaborating with community organizations, and cherishing the company of loved ones.

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