Department of Justice Requests Extension in Florida Tribal Gaming Case

Acting Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar has requested for an extension in the ongoing Florida tribal gambling dispute, according to recent developments. Prelogar justifies the request by pointing to the attorneys’ busy schedules with other urgent cases.

Prelogar requests that the Florida lawsuit be extended until May 12 and emphasizes that the lawyers for West Flagler (WFA) have not expressed any opposition to the request. WFA’s submission was initially anticipated to receive a response by February 12 from the Department of Justice, which represents the US Department of the Interior. SCOTUS did, however, issue an extension until April 12.

Background of the Case

WFA submitted its writ of certiorari on February 8, following a lower court’s decision to overturn a ruling allowing the Seminole tribe to launch its Hard Rock Bet platform in Florida. The case hinges on whether Deb Haaland, the DoI secretary, had the authority to approve the 2021 compact between Florida and the Seminoles. This compact permits bets made anywhere in Florida to be treated as if they were placed on tribal lands if they pass through a tribal server.

The legality of the compact has been challenged on multiple fronts. Florida’s Supreme Court recently declined to hear a related case where WFA sued Governor Ron DeSantis and the legislature, arguing they exceeded their authority in approving the compact. Additionally, questions have been raised about the compatibility of the compact with Amendment 3, passed by voters in 2018, which mandates voter approval for any expansion of gambling.

The issue’s ramifications for tribal sovereignty have led some to believe that the Supreme Court would take it up, although it is unclear if the court will hear any case at all. Only a small portion of the hundreds of cases submitted each year are usually heard by the Supreme Court.

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The Florida case will be discussed by the Supreme Court of the United States. The court will choose whether to hear the lawsuit after receiving the Department of the Interior’s answer. The decision’s result will have a big impact on Florida’s tribal gambling industry going forward.

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