ORLANDO, Fla. – Online sports gaming will remain on hold in Florida a while longer, as the South Florida company suing to stop a compact with the Seminole Tribe files for a rehearing in its federal appeals case.
West Flagler Associates filed a petition for an en banc rehearing in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday.
Back in June, an appeals court panel sided with the U.S. Department of the Interior that the federal government followed the rules when it allowed the Seminole Tribe to enter into a compact with the state of Florida in 2021.
That compact would allow online gaming in Florida, provided the servers for the sports betting were located on tribal land.
West Flagler Associates contends that deal violates the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The appeals court disagreed in June. West Flagler Associates says that the appellate ruling is “erroneous and will create confusion, and thus rehearing is warranted.”
“As shown by both the plain text of this provision and the overall legislative purpose of IGRA, this provision cannot reasonably be read to allow IGRA compacts to contain provisions that on their face seek to authorize gaming activities off of Indian lands,” attorneys for West Flagler Associates wrote in their petition.
An en banc hearing is a rehearing of a court case before a majority of the judges in active service, rather than just the three-judge panel. Rehearings are rarely granted by the full court.
Daniel Wallach, an attorney specializing in gaming law, told News 6 in June that he thought West Flagler Associates would try to take the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
“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,” Wallach said. “Now we have one and we have an issue that is of great importance to the gambling industry, not only in Florida, but this is a decision that can alter the balance of power and impact tribes and non-tribal gaming operators in virtually every state, so it has the hallmarks of the type of case the United States Supreme Court would consider reviewing.”
Wallach said we may not know until 2024 if sports betting will happen in Florida.
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