The Seminole Tribe of Florida has formally announced the rollout of sports betting at each of its six retail casino locations in the Sunshine State. The rollout begins Dec. 7 with the launch of sports betting at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, the Seminole Classic Casino in Hollywood, and the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek.
This will be followed by the launch at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa on Dec. 8 and the Seminole Casino Immokalee and the Seminole Brighton Casino on Dec. 11.
Sports Betting Comes as Part of the State Gaming Compact
The launch of retail sports betting in Florida comes in tandem with the rollout of craps and roulette at each casino. This broad gaming expansion in Florida comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent denial of an attempt to block a 2021 gaming compact between the Seminole Tribe and the state of Florida.
The gaming compact has given the tribe the exclusive right to operate all sports betting-related activities in Florida — this makes it impossible for other privately owned gambling entities to offer wagers on sports.
What has followed is a lengthy legal battle between the tribe, the Department of Interior, the state of Florida, and West Flagler, which represents non-tribal casinos in the state. The case is currently in the hands of the Supreme Court.
While there are different arguments, the main focus of this case revolves around the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) and a violation – or lack thereof – of it.
West Flagler — a racing & track operator in Florida — brought a lawsuit against the Seminole Tribe, arguing that IGRA only allows gaming on tribal land. Hence, the tribe’s implementation of mobile betting directly violated it.
On Oct. 25, the Supreme Court ruled against West Flagler’s – the plaintiff in this case – attempt to stay a mandate issued by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals that ruled in favor of the Department of Interior and the Seminole Tribe. This has reinstated the compact in question.
“The Seminole Tribe thanks the State of Florida, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department of Justice for defending our Compact,” Chairman of the Seminole Tribe Marcellus, Osceola Jr. said, according to the tribe’s press release. “By working together, the Tribe, the State, and the federal government achieved a historic legal victory.”
Still No Online Wagering In Florida
With the federal ban on sports betting repealed for over five years, Florida would be the largest state — by population — to legalize online wagering.
While the legalization of retail betting bodes well for gaming in Florida, it does not necessarily signal anything regarding the legalization of online sports betting. The lawsuits that the Seminole Tribe is currently facing challenge only online and off-reservation gaming.
West Flagler’s next move – a petition for writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court – is due on Nov. 20. If the Supreme Court decides to grant the writ of certiorari. They would do a full review of the case and make a final decision, which could take several months. Online wagering likely won’t launch until the end of all legal proceedings, which will be in either 2024 or 2025.