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US Supreme Court Grants DOI 30-Day Extension To Respond In West Flagler Case

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on March 7, 2024
US Supreme Court Building In Washington

The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) granted the federal government a 30-day extension to respond to the West Flagler v. Haaland case.

Last month, West Flagler and Associates (WFA) requested a writ petition with the SCOTUS against the Department of the Interior (DOI).

The date for the DOI to respond to that latest WFA brief was March 13. However, US Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar asked that her office have until April 12 to respond due to the “heavy press of earlier assigned cases to the attorneys handling this matter.” That extension request was granted.

The Florida sports betting case is one of two that WFA is trying to get while hoping to smooth the path for legal sports betting in the state.

WFA challenged the Seminole compact

On Feb. 8, WFA submitted its writ of certiorari to the SCOTUS, asking the court to consider the validity of the Florida gaming compact that allows online sports betting off tribal lands.

Represented by attorney Hamish Hume, the writ petition asked SCOTUS to consider three questions:

  1. “Whether the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) authorizes the approval of a compact that purports to allow for an online sports gambling monopoly throughout the state and off Indian lands.
  2. Whether an IGRA compact violates the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act if it provides for internet sports betting that is unlawful where many of the bets are placed
  3. Whether the Secretary’s approval of a tribal-state compact violates equal protection principles where it provides a specific tribe with a monopoly on online sports gaming off tribal lands, while state law makes that conduct a felony for everyone else.”

How did the Florida Gaming Compact get in this position?

WFA alleged US Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland was out of her boundary when approving the 2021 Seminole Tribe-Florida compact under the IGRA.

In its request, the pari-mutuel betting operator asks SCOTUS to check the legality of the Florida gaming compact, which notes that online sports bets originate on tribal lands if that’s where the servers are located.

A US district court first ruled in favor of WFA, with an appellate court overturning that ruling in favor of the DOI. Following that decision, WFA announced its intention to request a writ of certiorari before SCOTUS.

West Flagler and Associates is also suing Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state legislature in the state Supreme Court. WFA alleges that legislators broke the law when granting the same compact in 2021 to allow the Seminoles to offer online sports betting statewide.

Florida’s sports betting rolled out in 2021. When the state approved a 30-year gaming compact, it gave the Seminoles the exclusive rights to operate retail and online sports betting in the Sunshine State.

The compact allows the tribe, which hosts multiple inland casinos across the state, to offer in-person and online sports betting as well as dice games like roulette and craps on the tribal land.

The Seminoles launched Hard Rock Bet online sports betting on Nov. 7, which started taking in-person sports bets on Dec. 7.

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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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