Gambling Legislation

Supreme Court won’t take up Florida sports betting fight; could open iGaming market

Supreme Court won't take up Florida sports betting fight; could open iGaming market

The Seminole Tribe gets the green light to open its online betting market in the Sunshine State

On Monday, the US Supreme Court denied a petition to hear the case that awarded the Seminole Tribe exclusive rights to conduct online sports betting in Florida. Opponents of the compact were shocked at the highest court’s decision regarding the deal which pledged to generate hundreds of millions in revenue for the state and the tribe.

The ruling is another blow for West Flagler Associates and the Bonita-Fort Myers Corp., a Florida poker room and racetrack operator. In March, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the wrong type of petition was filed when companies attempted to challenge the 2021 compact between Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe.

“What’s important with today’s announcement is that the most significant barrier to online sports betting in Florida has been removed,” said South Florida attorney Daniel Wallach, a sports betting law expert who previously petitioned the US Supreme Court to either hear the case or reverse it.

Opponents claim that the compact gives the Seminole Tribe a sports betting monopoly in the state and that the US Department of Interior erroneously approved the compact, which is in violation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act that restricts gambling to tribal lands.

Attorneys for DeSantis and leaders in the legislature claimed that sports betting isn’t the same as casino gaming, saying it’s not restricted by the amendment.

The court’s decision could embolden tribes in other states to enter the online sports betting and casino markets, even if state laws prevent them. “Tribes in other states stand to benefit from this decision because now they have a clear roadmap that has cleared judicial review,” said Wallach. “I would expect to see efforts ramped up in other states.”

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