The Biden administration is making a strong push for the Supreme Court to allow an appeals court ruling to move forward, granting the Seminole Tribe of Florida the ability to offer online sports betting across the state. US Solicitor General, Elizabeth Prelogar, has responded to Chief Justice, John Roberts, who had temporarily halted the appeals court ruling back in October. If allowed to proceed, this ruling could open the door for widespread sports betting.

The appeals court ruling specifically pertains to a plan that would allow mobile sports wagers to take place anywhere in Florida, with wagers being managed by computer servers located on tribal property. However, Pari-mutuel companies have raised objections, arguing that this plan was created to circumvent a 2018 state constitutional amendment. This amendment requires voter approval for casino gambling in Florida.

While the US Department of the Interior has approved the compact, a lawsuit argues that it violates the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) by permitting gambling off tribal land. But Prelogar counters this argument, asserting that the compact is in line with the IGRA as it does not restrict a compact from addressing issues beyond activities on tribal lands. This case also carries implications for the use of IGRA compacts by states and tribes to provide gaming off Indian lands.

In a separate case before the Florida Supreme Court, the question of whether the sports-betting plan violates the 2018 constitutional amendment is being addressed. The Seminoles had introduced a mobile sports betting app in 2021 but had to halt its operations due to legal issues. Pari-mutuel companies are seeking a stay by arguing that the appeals court decision will raise a nationwide question regarding gaming off Indian lands.

Among those involved in this legal battle are West Flagler and Bonita-Fort Myers Corp., which possess jai alai licenses and operate a poker room in Florida.

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