Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Opposes the Seminole Tribe’s Gaming Compact’s Challenge

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is determined to get reelected in the state. Yet, he recently opposed West Flagler Associates’ case opposing a gaming agreement that the Seminole Tribe of Florida made with the state.

The governor asked the Florida Supreme Court to dismiss the lawsuit. However, it is uncertain when this will happen.

Governor DeSantis’ Late Dismissal Request

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that the governor had a minute before the Friday, December 1 midnight deadline to file a dismissal request lapsed. His office accuses West Flagler Associates of delaying to challenge the Seminole Tribe’s gaming compact’s legality. It filed the case over two years after the U.S. Department of the Interior reviewed and approved the agreement.

DeSantis states that the state’s constitution doesn’t incorporate sports betting in its casino gambling definition, which is a key issue in West Flagler’s case. Still, the Florida Supreme Court has already made one decision that favored the Seminole Tribe’s sports gambling interest in the state.

West Flagler’s Consecutive Defeats

The state’s Supreme Court turned down West Flagler’s request to ban the Hard Rock Bet application for offering online sports betting in the state in November. The company runs several off-track gambling parlors in Florida. However, the Seminole gaming compact’s terms require these facilities to collaborate with the Native tribe to accept in-person sports wagers.

West Flagler challenged the deal claiming it contravenes the state’s constitution as it allows a vote to be conducted to expand gambling. Yet, Floridians haven’t voted on the legalization of sports gambling. The company didn’t rush to oppose the gaming agreement in Florida but it didn’t delay to challenge its language in the federal court as it presented an appeal in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals decided that Deb Haaland, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior didn’t break the law when she approved the compact. Still, West Flagler wants the Supreme Court to overturn the Circuit Court’s ruling and it got an extension of up to February 2024 to file its appeal. Even so, the U.S. Supreme Court hasn’t hinted whether it will consider the company’s request since it is waiting for the Florida Supreme Court to decide on DeSantis’ dismissal request.

What Is West Flagler’s Challenge’s Fate?

The Florida Supreme Court has enough time to make its ruling before the year ends. But West Flagler’s state and federal challenges make it uncertain whether the U.S. Supreme Court will give its verdict soon.

The gaming compact has a high probability of surviving now. The Florida Supreme Court would need to reject DeSantis’ request and the U.S. Supreme Court would have to overturn the appellate court’s ruling for Hard Rock Bet’s operations in the state to be termed as illegal. But, their limitations might continue for a while before the two courts decide on the pending cases.


A sports enthusiast, Ryan helps cover sports betting news from around the country, highlighting some of the more interesting events going on in the USA.