The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has set out a timeline for the case that will determine the future of online sports betting in Florida, making it unlikely that any decision will be made until 2023.
The lawsuit – submitted by pari-mutuel operator West Flagler Associates – deals with the question of whether the Seminole Tribe is permitted to offer online sports betting statewide through a new tribal compact that came into effect last year.
The Florida constitution says that an expansion of gambling on non-tribal lands would require a referendum, but the Tribe contends that online bets placed on non-tribal lands would not violate this clause, as they would be accepted via servers in Seminole territory.
Rather than being against the tribe though, the lawsuit is filed against Debra Haaland, Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior, which reviews and approves all tribe-state compacts in the US. As a result, it is being heard in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Opening briefs for the case will begin on 17 August, with answering briefs then due in October.
The two parties will make reply briefs – their last written briefs – on 14 November.
Following this, a date will be set for oral arguments.
With this timeline set, it appears that a final decision would not be reached until 2023.
This means that the court’s injunction to block the Seminole Tribe’s sports betting offering will be in place for more than a year, after its Hard Rock sportsbook was taken offline in December 2021.
Meanwhile, the legal dispute over sports betting in Florida will have lasted even longer, beginning in September 2021.