Justice Kavanaugh denied opportunity to grant petition in Florida online gambling case

 June 19, 2024

A case challenging Florida's online gambling rules made quite a stir over the past week.

According to Newsweek, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was boxed out by his colleagues on the high court in a ruling that didn't allow him to take up the petition.

The outlet noted:

In Monday's order list, the court denied a petition of writ from West Flagler Associates and Bonita-Fort Myers Corporation—two rival gaming competitors—asking the justices to invalidate a compact made between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Governor Ron DeSantis.

Kavanaugh had expressed in an opinion that he believed the challenges had merit and was prepared to grant the petition, allowing the gaming companies to challenge the compact.

A petition of that kind requires four justices to agree to grant it. Kavanaugh was the only justice in favor of granting it.

Interestingly, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson did not participate in the decision.

Newsweek noted:

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson did not participate in the decision, citing prior judicial service. She previously served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which reversed a federal judge's ruling last June.

The gaming companies who filed the suit originally had notched a win in the lower court, as it found that the compact in question violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

However, the lower court's decision was ultimately reversed in a Florida appeals court, leaving the companies no choice but to attempt to escalate the matter to the Supreme Court.

Gary Bitner, a spokesman for the Seminole Tribe, celebrated the Supreme Court's decision to deny the petition.

"The Seminole Tribe of Florida applauds today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to decline consideration of the case involving the Tribe's Gaming Compact with the State of Florida," Bitner said.

The state of Florida has experienced a boon from funds collected as a result of the compact, which go to various causes like "land acquisition, wildlife preservation and waterway protection."

So far, the state has collected $120 million as a result of the compact, making clear that online wagering in Florida is big business.