Florida Sports Betting Update: DOI Opposes West Flagler’s Stay Mandate, Case Moves Towards SCOTUS

Floridians will have to wait at least one more week to get a potential launch date for Florida sports betting. This news comes on the heels of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Sept. 25 objection to West Flagler’s motion for stay of a mandate to the 2021 Florida Gaming Compact. West Flagler now has until Oct. 2 to respond to the DOI’s objection and until Dec. 11 to file a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).

DOI Disputes West Flagler Motion to Stay

The DOI’s basis for their decision to object the motion is language within the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act that puts the onus on states to regulate local gaming activity.

“Any such petition could present no substantial question for Supreme Court review,” a representative for the DOI said Monday. “This Court reached a narrow, case-specific holding about the meaning of particular language in one particular Compact under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.”

“West Flagler’s dispute is instead with the Florida law that does authorize those activities.”

Potential Pathway and What Happens Now

This DOI response was expected given the nature and history of the case. Now, West Flagler has until Oct. 2 to issue a response to the DOI. Based on previous response times throughout this case, expect that West Flagler submits their response as close to the Oct. 2 deadline as possible. At that point, the D.C. Circuit Court will decide on the motion for stay after reviewing the West Flagler response.

If the motion is denied, the impending sports betting launch and SCOTUS appeal will follow. West Flagler has until Dec. 11 to file with SCOTUS, which it already stated it was planning to do after denial for their initial petition.

If a stay is granted, the Seminole Tribe would most likely not launch online sports betting. According to Daniel Wallach, an expert on the Florida sports betting case, “DC Circuit may grant [a] very short stay (10 days) to present [the] same application to SCOTUS on an emergency basis,” Wallach wrote on X.

What does all of this mean for eager Florida sports bettors? They’ll have to wait at least another week to find out.

DFS in Florida Also Threatened By Regulators

In other Florida news, last week the Florida Gaming Control Commission (FGCC) sent cease-and-desist letters to operators of three daily fantasy sports platforms, accusing them of offering potentially illegal mobile betting games. The three operators in question are Betr, PrizePicks, and Underdog Sports.

“Under Florida law, betting or wagering on the result of contests of skill, such as sports betting, including fantasy sports betting, is strictly prohibited and constitutes a felony offense unless such activity is otherwise exempted by statute,” FGCC Executive Director Lou Trombetta wrote in the letter to the companies. “Accordingly, in Florida, sports betting may be lawfully conducted only pursuant to a gaming compact.”

It’s worth noting that operators like DraftKings and FanDuel did not receive letters, though they conduct daily fantasy sports games in the state as well. It’s unclear whether the commission plans to pursue action with them, and similar platforms.

Either way, legal action is pending. Underdog’s founder and co-CEO Jeremy Levine announced on X, “We strongly disagree with their assessment. We will continue operating our fantasy contests in Florida as we engage with the Commission and elected officials.”

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Mia Fowler is a graduate of Chapman University where she studied business marketing and journalism and played on the women’s soccer team. Following her 16-year journey with soccer, she started writing for Lineups.com. She specifically enjoys analysis of the NFL.

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