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What’s Next for Florida Sports Betting – Latest Legal Updates
Sports betting in Florida could return after a recent ruling by the US Court of Appeals that overturned the 2021 gaming compact between the state and the Seminole Tribe, which permitted it to launch retail and online sports betting.
The compact was challenged by two Florida casinos, saying it illegally authorized gaming outside of Native American lands, which violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).
The 2021 compact gave the Seminole Tribe a monopoly on Florida sports betting, declaring that any wager made through betting apps is considered to have been made on Seminole land. However, the Department of the Interior appealed the decision, resulting in the court’s reversal, shutting down sports betting in Florida.
Florida Online Sports Betting: Current Status
The June 30 ruling by the DC court could see sports betting soon return to the Sunshine State via the Seminole Tribe’s Hard Rock Bet (formerly Hard Rock Sportsbook), which had already launched in 2021 before they were ordered to suspend operations in December.
In the latest development, West Flagler, operators of the Magic City Casino in Miami, filed a petition for a rehearing with the DC Court of Appeals, saying the Seminole Tribe’s monopoly on Florida betting apps prevents other operators from entering the state.
The Seminole Tribe responded by issuing a statement on Monday, saying: “It’s important to note the three Judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a unanimous decision in favor of the US Department of the Interior, which approved the Gaming Compact between the Seminole Tribe and the State of Florida.”
Legal Updates to Sports Betting in Florida
An initiative by DraftKings and FanDuel proposed for the November 2022 ballot failed to get enough support from legislators, which means they and other providers won’t have access to the Florida sports betting market.
The soonest voters would see another initiative to break up the Seminole Tribe’s legal monopoly would be in 2024, which would delay other online providers from entering the market until then.
Based on the appellate court’s decision, the Seminole Tribe can legally relaunch sports betting immediately, but that isn’t likely as the Tribe will wait for an official decision. West Flagler still has several legal options to delay the process, so the Tribe’s best move would be to wait. If the petition for a rehearing is denied, it wouldn’t be 100% in the clear from future West Flagler legal challenges.
What Comes Next?
It seems as if the Seminole Tribe is ramping up for a relaunch of betting sites, publishing many recent job openings online for casino and sportsbook employees. It’s also held hiring events in Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania for experienced gaming personnel who can relocate to the Sunshine State.
The odds of the DC Circuit Court granting a rehearing to West Flagler are unlikely since the same judges ruled unanimously in the initial hearing. The DC Court of Appeals has requested a response from the Florida Department of the Interior regarding the West Flagler petition for a rehearing, which they must reply to by August 31. Even if there’s no response, it won’t leave much time to have sports betting available by the start of the NFL Season.
Should significant progress be made, we will keep you posted on any sportsbook promos that become available in the Sunshine State.