The pari-mutuel operator, West Flagler Associates, battling the whole Seminole sports betting monopoly based in Florida, has recently petitioned the state’s Supreme Court for pulling the plug on the mobile sportsbook of the tribe.
The Seminoles managed to relaunch the application early this week. That is after the Supreme Court had denied a plea by the lawyers of West Flagler to block the gaming compact of 2021 that handed the whole sports betting monopoly along with craps and roulette to the tribe.
West Flagler argued that the 2.5 billion dollars worth of gaming agreement actually violates the IGRA (Indian Gaming Regulatory Act). Basically, this requires the tribal gaming to take place on tribal land. However, the mobile app Seminoles has coverage across the state. The organization also asserted that the compact actually violated similar protection clauses of the Federal constitution.
West Flagler is the owner of Bonita Springs Poker Room, located in southwest Florida, and until very recently, Miami’s Magic City Casino.
It also sued to have the basic compact voided in the federal and state courts. However, after 2 years of legal wrangling, a type of federal appellate panel happened to go onto Seminoles, finding out in June 2023 that the problem would be decided better by the Supreme Court of Florida.
Judge Robert Wilkin, the federal appeals court, wrote, “Whether it is otherwise lawful for a patron to place bets from non-tribal land within Florida may be a question for that state’s courts, but it is not the subject of this litigation and not for us to decide.”
The state case happens to be pending, and the expected ruling will happen sometime next year. But in the filing of this week, West Flagler happened to complain that the tribe will end up profiting from the application in the interim.
West Flagler wrote in the filing, “[The] tribe will apparently continue with its off-reservation sports betting operations in contravention of the Florida Constitution… potentially raking in millions of dollars in sports bets that this court may eventually find were authorized in contravention of the Florida Constitution and derogation of the people’s right to decide on the expansion of casino gambling,”