JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Online sports betting could now have a path to returning in Florida.
Earlier this week, a federal appeals court denied a request from West Flagler, a gaming operator, to rehear a case that challenged the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s gambling agreement.
The agreement gives the tribe a multi-billion dollar deal for control over sports betting throughout the state.
In 2021 Gov. Ron DeSantis and Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman Marcellus Osceola signed off on a 30-year deal that would give the tribe control of sports wagering.
For a little over a month that year, the tribe accepted bets on their Hard Rock Sportsbook mobile app but was forced to stop.
According to News Service of Florida, the victory for the tribe earlier this week comes a few months after a three-judge panel with the U.S. Circuit of Appeals reversed a November 2021 decision by a federal judge who halted their gambling agreement.
Late Friday night, West Flagler filed a motion to stay the mandate of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals in the ongoing Florida sports betting lawsuit.
Daniel Wallach, an attorney who focuses on gaming and sports betting law, said this filing wasn’t a surprise.
“West Flagler filed a last ditch motion to stay the issuance of the mandate, basically to stay the implementation of the ruling,” Wallach said.
The attorney said courts could decide to grant or deny the motion as early as Monday.
“If it’s granted, then that might place a hold on sports betting until the Supreme Court disposes of the matter, which could be a few months from now or it could be a year to a year and a half from now,” Wallach said. “If the petition or the motion for a stay, the mandate is denied. Then that will clear the way for the Seminole Tribe to begin offering sports betting throughout the state, maybe even as early as Monday afternoon.”
Wallach noted if that motion is denied, he doesn’t believe West Flagler would go away, because he feels they could try to pursue a case before the United States Supreme Court.
“So, we could have a case where [Seminole Tribe] operates its online and in-person sports books, while at the same time, West Flagler is still challenging it before the Supreme Court and potentially before some of the state courts in the state of Florida based upon a violation of the Florida constitution,” Wallach said.
News4Jax spoke with a gambling enthusiast, George Gardner, Saturday at a sports bar.
He said he remembered the nearly thirty days in 2021 when online sports betting was happening in the state.
Gardner also joked it was one of the best times of his life.
He also said he’d be happy if it finally returns because he believes if online sports betting makes a comeback in the state, it would be good because it could benefit Florida.
“It’ll be a regulated platform that then revenue can be regulated throughout the community,” Gardner said.
Wallach said what happens Monday will be important and said is something a lot of people will be paying attention to.