West Flagler Associates Takes Legal Action Against Seminole Tribe’s Statewide Sports Betting Plans
In a recent legal development, West Flagler Associates has taken its fight against the Seminole Tribe’s plans for statewide sports betting to the Florida Supreme Court. This move by West Flagler Associates comes at a time when the Tribe has announced the relaunch of its mobile sports betting app. The company argues that the Tribe’s monopoly on statewide betting goes beyond constitutional limits.
This legal maneuver follows closely on the heels of the Seminole Tribe’s announcement that in-person sports betting would resume at its casinos in December. The US Supreme Court’s decision to not block a $2.5 billion compact between the Tribe and the state opened the door for sports betting in Florida. However, the unexpected launch of Hard Rock Bets by the Tribe caught many in the industry off guard.
The reintroduction of the Tribe’s mobile sports betting app prompted West Flagler Associates to file a new challenge. The company’s petition contends that the Tribe exceeded its constitutional authority by expanding casino gambling without citizen approval. West Flagler is seeking an immediate suspension of the off-reservation sports betting provisions.
Referring to the Tribe’s announcement, West Flagler Associates stated, “Taking advantage of the distraction created by their carefully crafted announcement on 1 November, the Tribe has sought to… present a ‘fait accompli’ on 7 November.”
West Flagler advocates for a return to the status quo of no statewide sports betting until final rulings are issued in the ongoing court cases. The company argues that allowing the relaunch would enable the tribes to make millions in profit despite the possibility of the court ruling against their monopoly.
West Flagler’s motion is the latest development in a two-year legal dispute surrounding the 2021 gambling deal between Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Commercial gambling interests, led by West Flagler Associates, have opposed the Tribe’s monopoly from the beginning, leading to the suspension of its wagering offerings shortly after its official 2021 start.
Opponents of the gambling compact claim that it violates the constitution by allowing the Seminole to offer gambling on non-tribal land. West Flagler has waged a lengthy legal campaign in federal court, but the slow progress of the proceedings likely emboldened the Tribe to relaunch their offerings and take control of the situation.
As legal battles continue, the Florida Supreme Court is at the center of a high-stakes dispute that could significantly impact the state’s sports betting industry. The court’s decision will play a crucial role in shaping the landscape of Florida’s sports wagering industry and determining the extent of tribal authority in gambling.