It was back in 2021 when Florida legalized sports betting. Through a new gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the activity launched on November 1, 2021, but was halted shortly after, on December 4, 2021. At the time, a court ruled that the compact between the tribe and the state violated federal law, effectively stopping sports betting in the state. Then, earlier this year, a federal appeals court reinstated sports betting, ordering the Department of Interior to resume the tribe’s agreement with the state, allowing for exclusive rights for sports betting in Florida.
Despite that decision and the years-long legal hurdle, the return of sports betting may be delayed further, a new report suggests. As announced by Click Orlando, a South Florida company intends to continue the legal battle with the Seminole Tribe over the sports betting compact with the state. Reportedly, West Flagler Associates plans a rehearing of its federal appeal.
The filing of an en banc hearing means rehearing of a court case. What’s different with such hearings is that they are before a majority of active service judges, instead of the usual three-judge panel. Speaking to News 6 back in June, the attorney that focuses on gaming law, Daniel Wallach, predicted that West Flagler Associates may try to take their case in front of the US Supreme Court.
At the time, he explained: “When you have court rulings from different federal circuit courts that are in disagreement with one another, that’s one of the primary examples of when the United States Supreme Court will grant certiorari review, they’re looking for circuit splits.” According to him, the case at hand precisely fits that framework and the company may see it in front of the US Supreme Court.
The return of Sports Betting May Be Delayed Further
In light of the situation, West Flagler Associates reportedly filed a petition for an en banc rehearing with the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. The company argued that the previously announced appellate ruling is “erroneous and will create confusion, and thus rehearing is warranted.” Attorneys representing the company claimed in the recent petition that the gaming compact between the Seminole Tribe and the state was in violation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).
It remains unclear whether the en banc rehearing will gain further traction. Yet, judging by the current situation, it is likely that the ongoing legal battle may further delay the return of sports betting in Florida.