On Oct. 25, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request to extend the stay ordered in West Flagler Associates, Ltd. v. Haaland. Previously, on Oct. 12, 2023, Chief Justice John Roberts issued a temporary order staying a ruling by the D.C. Circuit allowing the Seminole Tribe of Florida to resume statewide mobile sports betting. It is unclear if any justice supported the request to extend the stay. This means that West Flagler can only continue in federal court by requesting a writ of certiorari from the U.S. Supreme Court to review the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia’s June 30 ruling.
While respecting the denial of the application for a stay, Justice Brett Kavanaugh issued a statement of concern about the arrangement between the state of Florida and the tribe that allows the Seminole Tribe to accept sports wagers from outside its Indian lands. Justice Kavanaugh expressed that this type of arrangement may be in violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Kavanaugh stated, “[t]o the extent that a separate Florida statute (as distinct from the compact) authorizes the Seminole Tribe—and only the Seminole Tribe—to conduct certain off-reservation gaming operations in Florida, the state law raises serious equal protection issues.”
West Flagler’s lawsuit against the tribal-state gaming compact in Florida continues to move forward. Justice Kavanaugh’s statement suggests that the Florida Supreme Court may address the equal protection concern alongside other state-law issues related to the tribe’s potential off-reservation gaming operations.
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