No Immediate End in Sight for Seminole Florida Sports Betting Decision

It is unlikely that a decision will be made on the outcome of the future of online sports betting in Florida until 2023 at the earliest. The ongoing legal debate surrounds the initial decision around whether the Seminole Tribe is permitted to offer online sports betting statewide through a new tribal compact.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has set out a timeline for the appeal case which will see the two parties make their final written brief submissions on November 14th, before then setting a date for oral questions.

Given the speed of developments to date, it is highly unlikely that oral questions and a decision will be made prior to 2023, leaving the court injunction on the Seminole Tribe’s online operation under an injunction for over 12 months.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida had previously used a ‘hub and spoke model’ – meaning a model in which as long as bets were processed on Seminole servers, a bet was deemed to be on tribal land – to take online bets through until December 4th. This operation was forced to stop accepting online events in November 2021, after it was declared that the wagers and the new compact violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.

Upon the decision of the appeal, and whether or not the Seminole are found in breach – it’s considered likely amongst industry commentators that this will roll on until it reaches the Supreme Court with neither-side ready to give-up. The Seminole’s argument hinges on the New Jersey hub and spoke model, but given this case goes deeper into tribal law – it could well play out differently.

Whichever way the case goes, it’s sure to set an interesting precedent as more and more states heavily dominated by tribal presence look to legalise online sports betting.

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