Ron DeSantis

  • Florida Governor Ron DeSantis requested the dismissal of West Flagler’s writ of quo warranto petition in the Florida Supreme Court.
  • DeSantis filed his response on Dec. 1 that argues Florida online sports betting is not a violation of Amendment 3.
  • West Flagler also continues Florida sports betting opposition in the Supreme Court of the United States.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Online sports betting is up and running in the Sunshine State, but Florida parimutuels continue to challenge its legality. West Flagler Associates continue their pursuit to prevent legal Florida sports betting in the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and the Florida Supreme Court.

West Flagler’s petition for writ of quo warranto challenges that Governor DeSantis went beyond his power by authorizing online sports betting in the 2021 gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe. The Florida parimutuels believe Hard Rock Bet offering legal sports betting outside of tribal lands violated Amendment 3 of the state constitution.

Governor Ron DeSantis filed his response just 37 minutes prior to Friday’s 11:59 p.m. ET deadline, listing multiple arguments for dismissing West Flagler’s petition.

  • Sports betting is not casino gambling.
  • The parimutuels waited over two years after 2021 compact to file petition.
  • Seminole Tribe not included in lawsuit.

DeSantis Claims Online Sports Betting Isn’t Casino Gambling

The main argument from Governor DeSantis and Ashley Moody, Florida Attorney General, is that the definition of “casino gambling” provided by the Florida Constitution does not apply to sports betting. Amendment 3 of the Florida Constitution requires voter input for casino gaming expansion, but Moody and DeSantis argue this isn’t applicable to sports betting.

They claim that the compact itself falls into an IGRA exception that doesn’t prevent the tribe from negotiating a compact that expands gambling on tribal lands. This is effective even if Amendment 3 is found to apply to the compact.

Their exact wording from Friday’s court filing states “The compact and its implementing legislation are squarely within Section 30’s IGRA exception… it allows the Tribe to offer online sports betting, and implementing legislation simply executes that lawful compact.”

The Florida Supreme Court will assess the response and determine if the writ of quo warranto is necessary. Meanwhile, West Flagler’s extension requestion in the SCOTUS was granted, allowing the petitioners until Feb. 8, 2024 to file their rehearing request.

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