SCOTUS Denies West Flagler’s Request To Stay Florida Sports Betting Mandate, But Raises Additional Concerns For Seminole Tribe
On Wednesday, the United States Supreme Court denied West Flagler’s request for a stay of the mandate issued by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on June 30.
How We Got Here
On June 30, the DC Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the DOI and the Seminole Tribe were eligible to allow sports betting through its compact under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). The plaintiff, West Flagler, then filed a request for a stay of the mandate with the Supreme Court. In the interim, Chief Justice John Roberts issued a temporary stay of the mandate on Oct. 12. A stay – temporary or otherwise – stops a lower court’s decision from being carried out.
In order to receive a stay of the mandate from SCOTUS, the applicant – in this case, West Flagler – must meet the following criteria:
- “A reasonable probability that four Justices will consider the issue sufficiently meritorious to grant certiorari.”
- “A fair prospect that a majority of the Court will vote to reverse the judgment” made by the DC Circuit Court.
- “A likelihood that irreparable harm will result from the denial of the stay.”
SCOTUS Denial Lifts Temporary Stay
SCOTUS Justice Kavanaugh ruled that West Flagler did not meet one or all of the requirements above and therefore denied the stay.
“I agree that the stay application should be denied in light of the D. C. Circuit’s pronouncement that the compact between Florida and the Seminole Tribe authorizes the Tribe to conduct only on-reservation gaming operations, and not off-reservation gaming operations,” Kavanaugh wrote in his opinion.
As a result of this response, the temporary stay issued by Justice Roberts has now been lifted, effectively re-validating the 2021 sports betting compact that started this case.
Seminole Tribe Doesn’t Get Green Light
While this denial has things trending in the right direction for the return of sports betting to Florida, Kavanaugh noted that the Seminole Tribe’s exclusivity in this case “raises serious equal protection issues.”
He raised additional concerns over whether or not the compact did in fact authorize off-reservation gaming, as that would change this outcome.
“If the compact authorized the Tribe to conduct off-reservation gaming operations, either directly or by deeming off-reservation gaming operations to somehow be on-reservation, then the compact would likely violate the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.”
What Does All Of This Mean?
While the stay was granted, it’s evident that Kavanaugh is not fully in favor of the current compact either, meaning he may believe a review is warranted. So, if West Flagler does file a petition for writ of certiorari with SCOTUS, he may be voting to grant it.
Justice Kavanaugh may be laying the groundwork for a #SCOTUS cert grant by declaring that: (1) the compact’s “deeming” structure likely violates IGRA, and (2) the Florida statute granting a sports betting monopoly to the Seminole Tribe “raises serious equal protection issues.” https://t.co/QrbaJF0mj1
— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) October 25, 2023
If that is the case, three additional justices would also have to vote to grant the petition for writ of certiorari. Only then would the case be fully reviewed by SCOTUS.
West Flagler has until Dec. 11 to file the petition for writ of certiorari, which they are expected to do.