US Supreme Court Declines to Take on Lawsuit Challenging Florida’s Gaming Compact

USA Legal Betting


  • SCOTUS decision ends legal challenge against Florida’s compact
  • Lawsuits around compact have lasted over two years
  • West Flagler out of options to overturn compact

Florida’s gaming compact appears to finally be safe.

The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has decided not to hear a case from West Flagler Associates challenging the state’s gaming compact, which is the legal framework for the Florida sports betting market. The decision marks an end to years-long effort to overturn the compact, meaning it is now safe for the first time since it was agreed to in 2021.

“The Seminole Tribe of Florida applauds today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to decline consideration of the case involving the Tribe’s Gaming Compact with the State of Florida,” Seminole spokesperson Gary Bitner told the Tampa Bay Times. “It means members of the Seminole Tribe and all Floridians can count on a bright future made possible by the Compact.”

While sports betting has been live in the state since November 2023, an official SCOTUS review would have threatened to put the industry back on pause. A lower federal court ordered the industry to be halted after reviewing a challenge from West Flagler, leading to a delay of over two years.

SCOTUS’s decision comes after West Flagler got a similar result from the Florida Supreme Court, meaning they have exhausted all their option.

West Flagler Handed Major Loss

After winning an early legal challenge, West Flagler has lost appeal after appeal before attempting to take the case to SCOTUS. The group owns racetracks and poker rooms in the state but had been looking to break into the state’s new sports betting industry. However, Florida’s gaming compact gave the Seminole Tribe sole rights to the industry, keeping all other betting sites out of the state.

The Seminole Tribe, which operates the Hard Rock brand, was given rights thanks to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). The IGRA allows for federally recognized tribes to offer gambling on their lands. Since the tribe would have the servers for their online sportsbook on those lands, Florida felt the law applied.

West Flagler’s challenge was centered around how IGRA was interpreted. They argued that bettors would be placing wagers from their homes, meaning the actual gaming would not be happening on tribal lands. While they won their first appeal, higher courts either rejected the case outright or declined to do a full review.

Will Monopoly Hurt Florida Sports Betting Market?

The Sunshine State is one of the most populated states in the US, meaning it could become the biggest sports betting market. However, some experts and bettors have expressed concerns about the state’s decision to give sole rights to the Seminole Tribe.

Their concerns revolve around the lack of competition from other betting apps leading to a worse user experience. That included fewer sportsbook promos and watered-down odds, making it even harder for players to profit. That could lead bettors to continue to use offshore sportsbooks, meaning less money for the state.

Only four states four other states have a sports betting market with one operator:  Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.