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US Supreme Court Halts Florida Sports Betting

The US Supreme Court issued a stay postponing the launch of regulated sports betting in Florida for five days. It’s a small delay that’s likely to blossom into a years-long court battle about the minutiae of Florida’s gaming compact and the future of tribal gaming.

At the heart of the case is a move by the Florida Seminole Tribe and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to alter the state’s gaming compact so that the tribe can launch a mobile sports betting app. The Seminoles agreed to give the state a hefty chunk of the revenue and DeSantis agreed to alter the compact to allow the move.

While the DeSantis and the Seminoles were happy about the deal West Flagler, a local card room operator, was less enthusiastic. West Flagler maintains that any changes to the gaming compact must be approved by the voters. A lower court had ruled that the sports betting scheme could move over, but Chief Justice Roberts of the Supreme Court overturned that decision and issued a five-day stay in the matter.

In court filings reported on by Legal Sports Report, West Flagler laid out its case against the Seminoles and DeSantis saying, “Absent a stay, the Compact will give rise to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of sports betting transactions that violate both state and federal law before this Court has the opportunity to address the merits. The Circuit Opinion enables a dramatic change in public policy on legalized gaming that, once started, may be difficult to stop.

West Flagler plans to use the time granted by the stay to put together a request for the Supreme Court to take the case. Should that happen, regulated sports betting in Florida could be stalled for years to come.