Aerial view of downtown Miami and Brickell from a morning flight, Florida Miami. Landscape image of buildings.

The back-and-forth of the Florida sports betting bill wages on as the US Department of Justice (DoJ) filed its response in the Supreme Court on Monday (May 13).

This all began following a petition by the owners of one of the state’s oldest pari-mutuels who asked justices to invalidate the 2021 gaming agreement between Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

The compact agreement allowed the tribe control over sports betting in Florida, with the tribe agreeing to pay the state at least $2.5 billion within the first five years of the deal.

In 2021, the tribe briefly launched an app aimed at allowing sports wagering throughout the state but this was shut down after the pari-mutuel companies filed a federal lawsuit.

West Flagler Associates Ltd and Bonita-Fort Myers Corp also then challenged the compact in the U.S. Supreme Court as they argued it violates the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act because it authorizes gambling off tribal lands.

After West Flagler and Associates filed a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court in April, the Department of Justice has come back to say the case has no place before the court.

Department of Justice responds to Florida sports betting case

The response concludes with: “The petition for a writ of certiorari should be denied.”

Lawyers of the department suggest the Florida sports betting case comes down to three components and all are explored in the response:

  • Does the compact violate the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act?
  • Does the company violate the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act?
  • Does the Department of the Interior’s approval violate the equal-protection measures outlined in the Fifth Amendment?

The filed paperwork suggests the Department of Interiors can only disapprove a proposed compact “if it violates IGRA, federal law, or trust obligations to tribes.”

“In any event, the compact in this case is an agreement between two sovereigns – the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe – concerning the Tribe’s own conduct of commercial gaming operations within the State,” outlines the brief.

Featured Image: Photo by Ryan Parker on Unsplash

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