With digital sports betting still live in Florida despite a U.S. District Court judge calling for its suspension, the future of wagering in the Sunshine State should become more clear this week. On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a schedule for filings in the case brought by two Florida parimutuels against the U.S. Department of the Interior. The filings will be in response to an appeal from the Seminole Tribe earlier in the week.
To review, the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe last spring agreed to an amended gaming compact that gives the tribe a monopoly on retail and digital sports wagering and allows for an expansion of gambling, including adding roulette and craps at brick-and-mortar casinos. The compact was almost immediately challenged in three separate lawsuits.
On Nov. 22, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Dabney Friedrich issued a decision calling the compact illegal and vacating it. Friedrich also denied the Seminoles’ motion to intervene in the case.
Briefs due Tuesday, Wednesday
Judge: "Continuing to offer online sports betting would violate federal law."
DeSantis: "It is unclear what if any immediate impact the ruling has in Florida."
Game on. https://t.co/48fhlcLrsz
— Darren Heitner (@DarrenHeitner) November 23, 2021
Digital sports betting should have been suspended, but the Seminoles have continued to offer it. And on Nov. 23, the tribe filed an appeal in the appellate court requesting a stay to continue to offer betting, seeking a decision as soon as possible. Multiple stakeholders and experts believe that the tribe and its Hard Rock digital platform are breaking federal law by continuing to accept wagers.
The case has been assigned to a three-judge panel, and on Friday, the clerk issued a schedule: The parimutuels, West Flagler Associates and Bonita-Fort Meyers Associates, must file a response by noon Tuesday, and if the Seminoles want to reply to that, they must do so by noon Wednesday. There is no date set for a ruling, though the process should be expedited.
The three-judge panel is comprised of three Harvard Law School grads: Joe Biden appointee Ketanji Brown Jackson and Barack Obama appointees Patricia Millett and Robert Wilkins.