Seminole Tribe seeking emergency motion of stay, hopes to continue sports betting operation throughout appeal
The Seminole Tribe has filed an emergency motion for a stay pending the tribe’s appeal process with the U.S. Court of Appeals D.C. Circuit. If granted, the Tribe would be allowed to continue its Florida sports betting operation and planned gaming expansion throughout the lengthy appeal process.
The tribe’s initial motion for a stay was denied by Federal Court Judge Dabney L. Friedrich earlier this week after she ruled the tribe would not suffer “irreparable harm” if a stay was not granted.
“Turning regardless to the second stay factor, the Tribe has failed to show that this Court’s decision will cause it irreparable harm. The Tribe cannot show an injury to its sovereign immunity because this case does not implicate that immunity. And although the Tribe has a substantial economic interest in the instant Compact, see Tribe’s Mot. at 11–12, “[e]conomic loss does not, in and of itself, constitute irreparable harm,” Friedrich wrote in her judgment on the motion.
Tribe hopes to continue sports betting operation
Friedrich threw out the 30-year gaming compact earlier this week, effectively making sports betting illegal in Florida. However, the Seminole Tribe has continued to operate the Hard Rock Sportsbook app and take bets from customers, despite the shutdown.
In the latest emergency motion, the Seminole Tribe argues if a stay is not granted, it would cause “irreparable harm” to the tribe. The tribe stands to lose “substantial revenue if a stay is not granted pending appeal, including specifically from online sports betting.”
“The Tribe, through Seminole Hard Rock Digital, LLC, has invested over $25 million in its online sports betting efforts and expects to invest $45 million in total by the end of the year. With the recent launch of its online sportsbook, the Tribe is now generating millions in revenue per week, which would be immediately lost without a stay along with the Tribe’s investment. If a stay is not granted pending the Tribe’s appeal, hundreds of jobs could be lost,” the tribe wrote in the stay.
Hundreds of employees hired for gaming expansion
The Seminole Tribe noted it has also invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the compact’s approved gaming expansion. Additionally, it hired hundreds employees in preparation of launching craps and roulette at its casinos.
“If the Tribe were prevented from launching these games it would suffer a significant loss of investment in resources and personnel. These economic harms will be irretrievable if a stay is not granted.”
There is no timetable for when the tribe’s emergency motion will be ruled upon. The D.C. Circuit has set a deadline for responses by noon on Tuesday, Nov. 30, and by noon on Wednesday, Dec. 1, for the Seminole Tribe.