Sports Betting Put to a Vote?

  • West Flagler submitted a 52-page response to the Seminole Tribe that argues against Florida online sports betting.
  • The pari-mutuel betting operator argues that state voters need to approve any form of “casino gambling” expansion under Amendment 3.
  • Florida’s Supreme Court will determine whether sports betting falls under “casino gambling.”

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.Florida online sports betting continues to face opposition from West Flagler Associates, with Tuesday’s brief filing representing the most recent development. The Florida pari-mutuel betting operator filed a 52-page response arguing that Florida residents should determine whether the state has legal sports betting or not.

Amendment 3 of the Florida Constitution states that “The chief purpose of [Amendment 3] is to make the citizen’s initiative process… the only means for authorizing casino gambling in Florida.” That definition of “casino gambling” is the main topic of discussion, as Amendment 3 defines casino gambling as “any of the types of games typically found in casinos.”

Is Sports Betting Considered Casino Gambling?

West Flagler’s reply brief focuses on the Seminole Tribe’s belief that casino gambling doesn’t include sports betting. The Seminole Tribe argues that the section of Amendment 3 that states “games typically found at casinos” only applies to games with randomly determined outcomes, not sports betting.

The Tribe believes legal Florida sports betting is different because it involves “competitive, real-world events in which bettors try to predict outcomes.”

West Flagler believes this definition conflicts with the Gaming Compact between the Seminole Tribe and the state of Florida. They also stated that Amendment 3 should require a ballot initiative.

Next Steps For Florida Online Sports Betting

The Florida Supreme Court now has the option to grant or deny a temporary suspension of Florida online sports betting at any time. They also could transfer the case to circuit courts or host an oral argument before making a decision.

Considering that Governor Ron DeSantis appointed five of the seven Florida Supreme Court justices, the most likely results are denial or transfer to circuit courts. Florida online sports betting remains available until told otherwise by the state’s Supreme Court.

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