Published: October 15, 2023

U.S. Supreme Court puts temporary stay on Florida sports betting case

The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily put on hold a lower court ruling that gave a green light to a $2.5 billion gambling deal between the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who oversees emergency requests from the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., on Thursday issued an administrative stay in the case while the full court Considers A Request For A Long-Term Stay that was made last week by lawyers representing Florida casino operators.

The decision doesn’t indicate which way the Supreme Court may ultimately rule, but it likely means that the Tribe will not resume sports betting anytime soon in the nation’s third-most populous state.

Roberts in his order gave lawyers for the Department of Interior until Oct. 18 to respond to the request for the longer stay. The lawyers representing the owners of the Magic City Casino in Miami and the Bonita Springs Poker Room want the temporary pause while it asks the Supreme Court to consider the legal dispute.

A federal appeals court in June Concluded A Lower Court Judge Had Wrongly Blocked The Deal and said that any dispute over the compact between Florida and the Tribe should be fought in state court. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in September turned down a request for a rehearing.

Florida’s Gambling Deal With The Tribe Was Approved by the GOP-led Legislature in May 2021 and later signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis. The compact not only authorized sports betting, but it authorized the Tribe to add craps and roulette to its current casinos and build additional casinos on the Tribe’s Hollywood reservation that is already home to Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Shortly after the deal was approved, the Seminoles began offering sports betting through a mobile app.

But in late 2021, U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich with the District of Columbia concluded the deal was illegal because it allowed people to place sports bets anywhere in the state in violation of federal laws governing gambling on Native Americans’ lands. The lawsuit was filed against U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland because her agency did not block the compact.

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