Published: June 14, 2024

Supreme Court Holds Meeting On Key Florida Sports Betting Case

As the Supreme Court nears summer recess, the clock is ticking on a decision that may determine the future of the Florida sports betting market for the next decade and beyond.

On Thursday, the nation’s highest court was scheduled to hold a conference on whether to take up a petition filed by a Florida parimutuel four months ago. The petition, filed by West Flagler Associates (WFA), asks the Court to decide on the legality of a 2021 gambling compact between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the state. Within the compact, Florida granted the tribe exclusivity on mobile sports wagering throughout the state, a provision that is being challenged by the parimutuel.

West Flagler filed a writ of certiorari in February to petition the Court for review. According to Supreme Court procedure, at least four of the nine justices must vote to grant certiorari to take up the case. Last month, the U.S. Department of the Interior filed a response, outlining why it believes the Court should not hear the matter.

The justices convened on Thursday for a private meeting to discuss a series of cases and vote on numerous petitions for review. The case, West Flagler Associates, Ltd., et al. v. Deb Haaland, et al., has been distributed for Thursday’s conference, according to the Court.

The Court’s decision may serve as a proxy for the application of mobile sports betting on tribal lands across the nation.

A Hub-and-Spoke Model

Approximately three years ago, the Florida Legislature and the Seminole Tribe agreed on a new compact that gave the tribe the ability to accept wagers on sports for the first time. Under the 30-year compact, the tribe will pay the state about $20 billion, including roughly $2.5 billion over the first five years. The compact enabled the tribe to establish a "hub-and-spoke” model, where Floridians could place online sports wagers anywhere inside the state through mobile servers located on tribal lands.

The compact then went to the Interior Department (DOI) for approval. But instead of signing off on it, Secretary Deb Haaland took no action after a 45-day waiting period. By doing so, Haaland essentially allowed the compact to be "deemed approved.”,state%20and%20the%20Seminole%20Tribe.

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