US federal government asks for second extension in Florida wagering case

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In the filing, Prelogar writes that the “extension is necessary because the attorneys with principal responsibility for final preparation of the government’s response have been heavily engaged with the press of other matters before the court.”

Prelogar is requesting an extension in the Florida case until 12 May and notes the attorneys for West Flagler (WFA) do not object to the request. The Department of Justice, on behalf of the US Department of the Interior, was initially ordered to reply to WFA’s filing by 12 February, but filed for an extension until 12 April that SCOTUS granted.

WFA filed its writ of certiorari on 8 February, about seven months after a lower court overturned a previous ruling that allowed the Seminole tribe to go live with its Hard Rock Bet platform in Florida.

At issue in federal court is whether or not the DoI secretary, Deb Haaland, was within her powers to approve the 2021 compact struck between the state of Florida and the Seminoles. The compact allows for bets placed anywhere in the state of Florida to be considered to be on tribal lands if they flow through a tribal server.

Odds of case being accepted are low

Florida’s Supreme Court denied to hear a related case last month. In that case, WFA sued Governor Ron DeSantis and the legislature, saying they went beyond their power to approve the compact. In that case, WFA also questioned whether or not the compact is legal since voters passed Amendment 3 in 2018, which requires that any expansion of gambling go to the voters.

The US Supreme Court accepts between 100 and 150 of the approximately 7,000 cases filed with it annually. Some stakeholders think SCOTUS could consider this case because it relates to tribal sovereignty, but the acceptance of any case is inherently a long shot.

From here, SCOTUS will rule on the request for an extension in the Florida case and, once the DOI files its response, the court will begin to consider whether or not it will hear the case.

The Seminoles launched Hard Rock Bet on 7 November 2023.

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