Recently, the Seminole Tribe and the Department of Interior issued a response to West Flagler’s last minute request for an en banc rehearing.

The 25-page document opens with strong words, asserting: “West Flagler’s arguments for rehearing are strawmen, premised on its erroneous assumption that, by referencing the state-sanctioned wagers, the Compact – and the Secretary’s approval thereof – purport to unilaterally legalize the placement of those wagers and the State regime for regulating them.”

It continues: “But, as West Flagler acknowledges, the panel held in no uncertain terms that the Compact does not do that. And the panel did so while making scrupulously clear that neither its opinion nor the Secretary’s approval prevents West Flagler from challenging the relevant state law in Florida’s courts. Rehearing is unwarranted.”

The dossier comes after the Seminole Tribe was asked to respond to West Flagler Associates’ petition for an en banc hearing. The Seminole Tribe was given until the 31 August, 2023 to submit the response. Ultimately, West Flagler’s last minute decision to submit an en banc petition on 21 August has delayed (potentially indefinitely) the launch of Florida online sports betting.

Should the petition not have been lodged, the Seminole Tribe would have been able to begin offering legalized sports wagering, plus roulette and craps at its landbased casinos with immediate effect.

Florida sports wagering looked to be set to relaunch after the D.C. Circuit Court reversed the decision regarding the Seminole’s gaming compact with the state. This vacated the 2021 ruling that saw the cessation of sports betting. The former ruling claimed the compact violated the terms of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Impact. The Seminole’s argument is that because the servers that process online sports bets are on tribal land, the bets are taken at that location.

There has not been an en banc hearing in two years, and the court has also ruled that there is no right to response from West Flagler Associates. Should the court reject the rehearing request, the compact (now ruled lawful) would take effect seven days later, therefore making FL sports betting legal once more.