Gambling groups want more time to prepare case for U.S. Supreme Court over sports betting in Florida


TALLAHASSEE — As they wage a two-front fight against the Seminole Tribe offering online sports betting statewide, two pari-mutuel companies are seeking more time to make their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lawyers for West Flagler Associates and Bonita-Fort Myers Corp. on Monday asked Chief Justice John Roberts to extend a deadline for filing a petition and said the U.S. Supreme Court case could be affected by a separate sports-betting challenge filed at the Florida Supreme Court.

The two cases involve different legal issues and different defendants, but the pari-mutuel companies are trying to use at least one of the challenges to block sports betting that was included in a 2021 gambling deal between the state and the tribe.

West Flagler and Bonita-Fort Myers Corp. want the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a case filed against the U.S. Department of the Interior over whether the sports-betting part of the deal violates a federal law known as the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, or IGRA, because it authorizes gambling off tribal lands.

The Department of the Interior, which oversees Indian gaming, allowed the gambling deal, known as a compact, to move forward. A panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia backed the department in June.

Meanwhile, the companies have filed a case at the Florida Supreme Court contending that allowing the tribe to offer online sports betting statewide violates a 2018 state constitutional amendment that required voter approval of casino gambling.

In the request Monday to Roberts, lawyers for West Flagler and Bonita Fort-Myers Corp. sought to push back a deadline from Dec. 11 to Feb. 9 for filing a petition, at least in part because of the Florida Supreme Court case.

“If the Florida Supreme Court rules in applicant’s (the pari-mutuel companies’) favor in connection with the state petition, such ruling will impact the scope of applicants’ petition for a writ of certiorari (the petition for the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case),” the request said.

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