On October 12th, the US Supreme Court temporarily put on hold the ruling of a lower court that gave the nod to the $2.5 billion compact between the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
Yesterday, Chief Justice John Roberts, who is responsible for emergency requests oversight from the federal appeals court in Washington DC., issued an administrative order that would see the case postponed while the full court considers a long-term stay request that was filed by Florida casino operators’ legal representatives last week. The Chief Justice’s decision does not indicate what decision the Supreme Court may eventually make, but it probably means that the Seminole Tribe of Florida will not resume its sports betting offering anytime soon.
In his court orders, Chief Justice Roberts ordered the legal representatives of the Department of Interior to respond to the request for a longer stay until October 18th. The lawyers who represent the owners of the two Florida venues – Bonita Springs Poker Room and Magic City Casino – called for the sports betting operations to be put on hold temporarily until the US Supreme Court takes its time to take the legal dispute into consideration.
In June, a federal appeals court ruled that a judge from a lower court had incorrectly blocked the gambling deal between the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida and said that any further dispute over the controversial compact between the two parties should be taken to state court. Last month, the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected a request to rehear the case.
Seminole Tribe’s Mobile Sports Betting App Remains Unavailable
As previously reported by CasinoGamesPro, the gambling deal inked between the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe was given the nod by the Republican-led Legislature in May 2021. Later, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the compact into law.
Under the provisions of the gambling agreement, the Seminole Tribe of Florida received authorization to offer sports betting services, along with some traditional casino games, such as roulette and craps, in its existing casinos. The Tribe was also allowed to establish additional casinos on its reservation lands in Hollywood, which already host Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The Native American nation started offering sports betting through a mobile application shortly after its deal with the state was given the green light by the competent authorities.
In late 2021, however, US District Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled that the gambling agreement was illegal because it allowed Florida residents to place sports wagers anywhere in the state, in breach of federal gambling laws regarding the lands of Native American tribes. The legal action was filed against Deb Haaland, the US Secretary of the Interior, accusing her and her agency of not blocking the compact from getting final approval.
At the time, Judge Friedrich also ruled that offering sports betting outside of reservation lands in the state of Florida was subject to voter approval. Five years ago, local voters gave the nod to a constitutional amendment under which any future expansion of casino gambling in the state should get their approval. The use of the mobile sports betting app was halted by the Seminole Tribe shortly after the ruling was issued and since then has not taken any steps to resume its operation, even after the appeals court turned down Judge Friedrich’s reasoning.