• Home
  • News
  • Regulation
  • Prominent Florida attorney sides with West Flagler in SCOTUS amicus brief
igamingnext photo
Prominent gaming lawyer Daniel Wallach has sided with West Flagler in a Supreme Court amicus brief.

The SCOTUS case concerns the Seminole Tribe’s gaming compact with Florida that grants it a statewide online sports betting monopoly.

Two pari-mutual betting operators are challenging whether the government, through the secretary of the interior, was permitted to authorise the compact.

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (DC Circuit) previously ruled on this question in West Flagler v. Haaland in June 2023.

This cleared the Seminoles, despite ongoing litigation in both federal and state courts, to relaunch online sports betting through the Hard Rock brand.

West Flagler filed a writ of certiorari earlier this month, which is a formal request for the US Supreme Court to review the lower court’s decision.

Wallach has now taken West Flagler’s side in an amicus curiae brief. Literally a “friend of the court” brief, this is a document filed by third parties with relevant expertise in a case.

Wallach highlights justice Kavanaugh’s argument

In the brief, Wallach highlighted Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s response to the Supreme Court’s October denial of West Flagler’s motion for a stay.

Kavanaugh argued that if the compact indeed granted the Seminoles the ability to conduct off-reservation sports betting, then it would “likely violate the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA)”.

Wallach argued that the “plain violation of the IGRA’s ‘Indian lands’ limitation” meant that the court should summarily reverse the DC Circuit’s decision.

Failing this, the attorney said that SCOTUS should instead grant West Flagler’s petition for a writ of certiorari. If this was done, then the court would likely ultimately rule on the case at some time in 2025.

Despite Kavanaugh’s stated scepticism of the defendant’s arguments, the justice has earned a reputation of siding with liberals on issues of tribal government.

Wallach also argued that any denial of the writ would see litigants return in future cases due to the unsettled questions it raises.

He pointed to a recent proposed Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) rule that would allow states and tribes to enter into mobile gaming compacts.

“Not surprisingly, the proposed rule drew its inspiration from the Florida compact. Thus, if certiorari is denied, the BIA will presumably finalise the proposed rule, sparking even more litigation over the same issue.”

“Therefore, the court should accept certiorari to address this critical federal question, given its high likelihood of recurrence in future cases.”

It is unlikely that the court will review the case, as it is only able to consider a total of around 75-80 cases per year.

Similar posts