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A major development has occurred in the ongoing challenge from West Flager and Associates (WFA) against the compact between the Seminole Tribe and the State of Florida. 


The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has agreed to discuss the case further on 13 June. This does not mean that the court will hear the full case being leveled against the compact. Rather, it just means that the court will meet to determine whether it is worth going ahead with examining the case fully. 13 June will at least provide some clarity and insight into the direction that sports betting in Florida is taking.


WFA is a gambling business that specializes in horse and track gambling in Florida. They took issue with the 2021 compact made between the Seminole Tribe and the State of Florida. 


The gambling pact, which was granted by Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis, gave the Seminole Tribe exclusive rights to provide online gambling facilities in Florida. This means that if a Floridian wants to place a sports bet using their mobile phone, they’d have to do it through a Seminole Tribe-run application. 


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The WFA, in association with the poker room Bonita-Fort Myers Corp., believes that the current sports betting compact gives the Seminole Tribe an unfair monopoly in Florida, given that no other tribe or gambling association is allowed to set up a sports betting platform in the state. 


Additionally, they argue that the current compact goes against the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). The IGRA is a federal law that was originally passed in 1988. This law defined the rules and regulations of tribal gambling across the US. 


One of the most important components of the IGRA is location. It states that tribal casino exchanges must take place on tribal land. The WFA argues that, by offering online casino games that can be played off tribal land, the Seminole Tribe is actually breaking this part of the IGRA. This is the main issue that the WFA and Bonita-Fort Myers Corp have raised against the Florida-Seminole compact


In rebuttal, some have argued that the gambling still takes place on tribal land as the sports bets are processed onsite. While the bettors can place their wager from anywhere in the state of Florida, their bets are still sent to the brick-and-mortar casino, which is on tribal land, and winnings are also sent out from this onsite location. 


Another issue that has been raised against the compact is that it seemingly bypasses the Florida Law, too. Florida Law states that all casino expansions are dependent on voter approval. The forming of the Florida-Seminole pact wasn’t put to voter approval at all, suggesting that it broke Florida Law in addition to the IGRA. 


The compact has been openly disputed since it was made official in 2021. There has been a lot of back and forth between the WFA and the Supreme Court, with the court outright rejecting the challenge in March 2024. The WFA has since resubmitted a new petition, which is the one SCOTUS will be discussing in June. 


Should SCOTUS decide to hear the case in full, there’s a chance that the compact could be made invalid. However, if the petition is reviewed and the compact is considered to still be valid, there’s a chance that this case could inspire other tribes to create similar pacts with their respective governments. This would allow other tribes to achieve a similar sports betting monopoly in their state. 


If this happens, the WFA may continue to challenge the language of the compact. They may be able to receive backing from other major gambling companies who want to shake the Tribal monopoly on the state of Florida. This includes the likes of DraftKings, FanDuel, and Bet365. 


Should the compact be made invalid, the Seminole tribe would still dominate a large part of the Florida gambling market. They currently own six brick-and-mortar casinos throughout the state, which include the Seminole Casino Brighton, the Seminole Casino Immokalee, and the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek. 


They also own the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino which makes an estimated revenue of $300 million per year


The Seminole Tribe would also likely maintain a high influence over the online casino market in Florida, even if it becomes legal for competition to set up non-Seminole platforms.