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Florida And Sports Betting Updates

Florida And Sports Betting Updates

Following a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia District, there’s a possibility that Hard Rock Bet could launch its sports betting platform in Florida as early as September 19, provided there are no further legal actions taken by West Flagler and Associates, the plaintiff in the sports betting case. 

Rehearing Denied

Bob Jarvis, a constitutional law professor at NOVA Southeastern who has been closely following the case, expressed his view that the D.C. Circuit’s denial of West Flagler’s petition was not unexpected. He noted that there was little merit to West Flagler’s request and that petitions for rehearing “en banc” are rarely granted.

Jarvis also anticipated that West Flagler would file a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, which he expected to be denied, likely by the end of the year. 

Jarvis further mentioned that West Flagler could opt to file in Florida state court based on the 2018 Amendment 3, which mandates that any expansion of gambling must be presented to voters. However, he expressed the expectation that this challenge would also likely fail. As of now, West Flagler attorney Hamish Hume has not responded to phone inquiries from Sports Handle. 

Seminole Tribe and Florida Sports Betting

This development could pave the way for the Seminole Tribe to relaunch its Hard Rock wagering platform. The tribe had initially launched the platform for 34 days in late 2021 before it was ordered to shut down by the court. In response to the court’s decision, a spokesperson for the Seminole Tribe expressed satisfaction, stating, “The Seminole Tribe of Florida is pleased with today’s denial of the request for an en banc hearing by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.” 

Gaming consultant Brendan Bussmann, a principal at Las Vegas-based B Global suggested that this case might not be concluded yet, but the current avenue appears to face obstacles, if not a complete halt. Bussmann noted that West Flagler may have other options, but there is a foreseeable path where Hard Rock could start accepting wagers until directed otherwise by the legal process. 

Possible Expansions in Florida

At one point, the only sportsbook offering promotions for sports betting in Florida was Hard Rock Bet, a familiar name associated with the Seminole Tribe’s Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood. However, the app is currently unavailable in the state due to recent legal developments.

The state government’s approved deal with the tribe did allow for other sportsbook brands to enter the Florida market. These brands must negotiate agreements with the Seminole Tribe to gain access to the Florida sports betting market. 

For instance, if companies like DraftKings Sportsbook or BetMGM Sportsbook wish to offer mobile sports betting in Florida, they must strike a deal that involves paying a portion of their revenue to the Seminole Tribe in exchange for operating within the state.

Compact Between the State and the Seminole Tribe

The negotiations for sports betting in Florida happened behind closed doors for the most part, in contrast to the public legislative hearings typically seen in other states. Any agreement concerning sports betting in Florida requires negotiations within the framework of a broader gambling compact between the state and the Seminole Tribe. 

This arrangement came about in April 2021 when Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new compact with the Seminole Tribe, paving the way for some form of statewide mobile wagering in Florida. State legislators gave their approval to this deal in May 2021, and although it was not outright approval, the U.S. Department of Interior permitted the tribal compact, which would legalize sports betting in Florida and is to be published in the Federal Register in August. 


As part of this 30-year agreement, the Seminole Tribe committed to paying the state a sum of $2.5 billion over the initial five years. This deal also positioned Florida among the many states that embraced sports betting following a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

In addition to granting the Seminoles control over online sports betting, the compact allowed the tribe to offer craps and roulette at its casinos. Additionally, the agreement permits the Seminoles to establish three casinos on tribal land in Broward County.

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