The Florida sports betting battle doesn’t seem like it’s going to end anytime soon. And it almost assuredly won’t reach its conclusion before next year.
That timeline is apparently the driving force behind West Flagler Associates’ attempt to get the Florida Supreme Court to repeal the Seminole Tribe’s sports betting operations throughout The Sunshine State. To be sure, it is a move West Flagler Associate probably always would have implemented once the Seminoles were allowed to relaunch sports betting in Florida. But the request takes on new meaning and stakes knowing that The Sunshine State’s sports gambling litigation doesn’t have an end in sight.
Just What Exactly is the Timeline for a Florida Sports Betting Decision?
Coming up with a realistic timeline for the end of the Florida sports betting litigation has been impossible. The entire issue is wrapped in uncertainty. Banking on a longer timeline has become the default as a result. That doesn’t appear to be changing, either.
As the CBS 4 in Miami team reported, the latest request to overturn sports betting operations in Florida was made because West Flagler Associates doesn’t see the United States Supreme Court reaching their own verdict anytime before 2024:
“With the case pending, attorneys for the pari-mutuel companies Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to ‘immediately suspend the sports betting provisions’ of a law that carried out the gambling deal. ‘This exigency has been created by the launch of the Seminole Tribe's mobile betting application on November 7, 2023, without prior warning,’ the attorneys wrote in a 15-page motion. The motion said the Supreme Court likely will not rule on the underlying challenge to the gambling deal until sometime next year.
“‘In the meantime, absent an expedited ruling on petitioners' ... request, the tribe will apparently continue with its off-reservation sports betting operations in contravention of the Florida Constitution ... potentially raking in millions of dollars in sports bets that this court may eventually find were authorized in contravention of the Florida Constitution and derogation of the people's right to decide on the expansion of casino gambling,’”
This language implies we should brace ourselves for a long wait. It sounds like the Supreme Court won’t decide whether to hear the Florida sports betting case until 2024. That says nothing of the actual deliberation process. Once they hear arguments, it could be a matter of weeks, months or longer before they reveal the fate of Florida sports betting.
Will Florida Sports Betting be Halted Until the Case is Actually Resolved?
As of now, the Seminole Tribe’s Florida sports betting app is still available to anyone who signed up for an account when it first became active in November 2021. New users are not currently being accepted as far as we know.
Plenty of experts don’t think the app is in danger of shuddering, either. The Florida Supreme Court already ruled in favor of the Seminole Tribe’s gaming compact with The Sunshine State. That decision paved the way for the Seminoles’ app to rejoin the ranks of online sportsbooks in the United States. It doesn’t seem like that same court would close down online sports betting operations in Florida.
Immediately, that’s good news for the Seminole Tribe—and sports betting fans in Florida. But that doesn’t mean their services are in the clear. The United States Supreme Court could decide to halt Florida betting operations if they decide to hear the case.
But based on the current timeline, that still gives the Seminole Tribe a couple of months to capitalize on their sports betting operations. Depending on how long it takes for the Supreme Court to take action, Floridians would still be allowed to bet on the NFL playoffs and bet on the college football National Championship before having to worry about a repeal.
Of course, the goal for the Seminole Tribe is to offer sports betting in Florida for the foreseeable future. And there’s a chance they’ve already cleared the final hurdle. Their sports betting operations may wind up going untouched through the rest of the litigation process. But they likely won’t rest easy until a final decision is made and they’re in the clear.
What Happens if the Florida Sports Gambling Compact Eventually Gets Overturned?
It isn’t immediately clear what will happen if, when all’s said and done, the Florida sports betting compact between the state and Seminole Tribe gets kiboshed by the federal government. We can only speculate.
More likely than not, though, the issue will go back to the Florida House of Representatives and Senate. They would theoretically debate and vote on a sports betting bill. And if that initiative makes it through both branches, it would then go on the earliest Florida electoral ballot. At this point, with the next election scheduled for 2024, another Florida sports betting bill likely wouldn’t make a ballot before 2026.
This harkens back to the initial benefit of the Seminole Tribe’s gaming compact. It not only promised the tribe gaming exclusivity, but it circumvented the electoral process. Florida didn’t need to wait on the voting population to decide. It brokered the sports betting compact independently, and operations launched at the earliest convenience.
Granted, this is the entire genesis of the Florida sports betting battle. The plaintiffs—among others—argue that the Seminole Tribes’ widespread offering of gambling services should require voter approval. They also argue that if online sports betting in Florida is being offered to the current extent, the market should be opened to include other casino operators.
Does this argument hold any real weight? We can’t be sure. And in all likelihood, we won’t be sure until sometime next year.
Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one that works for all of your sports betting needs: