U.S. Solicitor General Urges Supreme Court To Deny Stay On Florida Sports Betting

October 19, 2023
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Responding to an order last week from U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar on Wednesday argued a stay, or delay, in allowing mobile sports betting in Florida should be rejected.
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Responding to an order last week from U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar on Wednesday (October 18) argued a stay, or delay, in allowing mobile sports betting in Florida should be rejected.

“IGRA (the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988) largely leaves the substance of a tribal-state compact concerning gaming on Indian lands to be determined by the tribe and the state that negotiate it,” Prelogar wrote in a 30-page filing with the Supreme Court.

The Seminole Tribe and Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis negotiated a gambling compact in 2021 allowing the tribe to accept online sports wagers from gamblers located outside the tribe’s reservation.

“IGRA does not limit or otherwise alter a state’s authority within the state on non-Indian land,” Prelogar wrote. “A state’s regulatory power over tribal gaming outside Indian territory is therefore capacious.”

Chief Justice Roberts ordered a response from the U.S. Department of the Interior on October 12, the same day West Flagler Associates, a pari-mutuel company in Miami, requested a stay on the resumption of sports betting in Florida.

The next step after Prelogar’s response is a decision by Roberts and possibly other members of the U.S. Supreme Court on whether to grant a stay on Florida sports betting.

The decision is expected within the next week or ten days, according to a source who requested anonymity.

West Flagler Associates also is pursuing a lawsuit against the Florida gambling compact in Florida’s Supreme Court.

Moreover, West Flagler Associates has said it plans to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review a 3-0 decision in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.  on June 30 which affirmed the authority of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to allow the Florida gambling compact to advance without the secretary’s express approval.

Solicitor General Prelogar said the U.S. Supreme Court should not grant certiorari, or agree to consider, an appeal by West Flagler Associates of the circuit court’s 3-0 ruling.

“There is no fair prospect that the [U.S. Supreme] Court would reverse the court of appeals’ judgment if it did grant review,” Prelogar wrote.

The Florida gambling compact also does not violate the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006, Prelogar said, “because it does not address payment methods that might violate UIGEA.”

Barry Richard, an attorney for the Seminole Tribe, sent a letter to the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday (October 16) explaining why the tribe did not plan to make a statement in response to the order from Chief Justice Roberts.

“We write to advise the [U.S. Supreme] Court that the [Seminole] Tribe is not a party in the … case,” Richard wrote in the letter addressed to Scott S. Harris, the court’s clerk.

Richard said the tribe’s motion to intervene in the lawsuit by West Flagler Associates against the Interior Department was denied by a federal district court in Washington, D.C. before the case was appealed.

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