Florida’s Seminole Tribe Unexpectedly Launches Sports Betting on Monday with Hard Rock Sportsbook

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Florida launched its online sports betting market on Monday morning in an unexpected turn of events despite several legal complications remaining unresolved. In partnership with Florida’s Seminole Tribe, Hard Rock Sportsbook is now available statewide and is offering new users a $100 risk-free bet at signup. Florida has become the most populated state to have live, legal sports betting, but it won’t be without pushback as several lawsuits remain up in the air in the state. For now, if you are 21 years old and physically located in Flordia, you can download the Hard Rock Sportsbook app on Android or iPhone devices and place bets from anywhere in the state.

Florida’s Seminole Tribe Gaming Compact

Before the United States, Supreme Court’s landmark decision to strike down a federal ban on sports betting in 2018, no state other than Nevada had been permitted to have legal sports betting market. However, the industry has rapidly grown in the years since that Court ruling, and Florida is the latest state to launch its sports betting market as of November 1. On April 23, 2021, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new gaming compact with Florida’s Seminole Tribe, effectively granting it a monopoly over sports betting in the state.

The new compact is a 30-year agreement that will see the Tribe pay $2.5 billion to the state over the first five years and could generate as much as $6 million in additional revenue throughout the life of the compact. On Friday, the Seminole Tribe announced it had partnered with five pari-mutuels to offer sports betting in Florida, with Hard Rock being the only one to go live today. November 15 had been the expected launch date for sports betting, so Hard Rock going live comes as a significant surprise.

Florida Lawsuits Still Pending

Of course, there was significant pushback on the gaming compact providing an effective monopoly over a massive industry, particularly from third-party pari-mutuels who wanted a piece of the sports betting business. One lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Florida and was thrown out on October 19 by District Judge Allen Winsor. That lawsuit had been filed by Magic City Casino and Bonita Springs Poker Room, but Winsor ruled that the “actions [of the state and the Seminole Tribe] are not fairly traceable to any alleged harm” to them.

On November 5, a lawsuit against Deb Haaland, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, is expected to be heard. The Havenick family, owners of multiple pari-mutuel facilities, claims that Haaland acted in a way that was “arbitrary and capricious, or otherwise not in conformity with the law,” according to Daniel Wallach, principal at Wallach Legal. In addition, an anti-gambling organization, No Casinos, is filing a lawsuit to stop sports betting from being introduced to the Florida market.

Hard Rock Sportsbook

Future Implications

For now, sports betting is live and legal in Florida. Still, Brendan Bussman, partner at Global Marketing Advisors, called this a “contradiction to what has been set within court documents,” and it remains to be seen how Florida will be penalized for this debatably unlawful early action. Daniel Wallach said that it will “likely not go over well with the federal district court judge” given the expected November 15 launch, and it could “prove to be another unforced error.” Friday’s hearing of the lawsuit against Deb Haaland will be integral to determining the course of action for the state.

We don’t have any information on which other sports betting skins will be joining the Florida market as there are four other pari-mutuels with agreements in place with the Seminole Tribe. In the meantime, individuals in Florida can now sign up for an account with Hard Rock Sportsbook and begin betting on their favorite teams from anywhere in the state.

I've been a huge sports fan for as long as I can remember and I've always loved writing. In 2020, I joined the Lineups team, and I've been producing written and video content on football and basketball ever since. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. My goal is to tell enthralling stories and provide meaningful insight on the sports I write about while helping you cash some bets along the way.

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