In the Florida market, Hard Rock Sportsbook has been unable to return because of legal obstacles. Although the Seminole Tribe won last week, granting them a monopoly on sports betting, potential appeals could delay the launch of operations until the end of August or even longer.
As a result of a recent appeals court ruling, the Seminole Tribe’s compact agreement granting exclusive rights in Florida’s gaming landscape has been reinstated.
However, implementing the court’s ruling is still pending, so the timeline remains unclear. Seminoles, meanwhile, can offer retail sportsbooks in their casinos and launch Hard Rock Sportsbooks in Florida.
It is believed that the official launch will be delayed until at least the end of August due to the legal requirements under Rule 35 of the circuit court. It typically takes 45 days to take effect and is further extended by a clerk’s order of seven days. In light of this, August 21 would be the earliest possible launch date, giving the NFL season a narrow window before it begins. A second appeal, however, could prolong the process further by months or even years. West Flagler and Associates retains multiple appeal avenues.
A rehearing of the case can be requested by the company before the original panel or en banc, which involves all active judges. Until a final decision is reached, the Seminole Tribe will not be able to launch, as the appellate court imposed a stay in December 2021.
Additionally, the plaintiff could request certiorari from the Supreme Court, arguing that the case deserves review. It would not trigger a new hearing at the appellate court, but it would expire the existing stay. According to the latest betting news, West Flagler is likely to seek an injunction to stop the tribe’s launch if it appeals to the Supreme Court.
With the new compact agreement, the Seminole Tribe is given a 30-year monopoly on sports betting in Florida, along with roulette and craps. As a result of the ruling, the Seminoles and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis negotiated a deal initially deemed invalid by Judge Dabney L. Friedrich in November 2021. The tribe will pay the state at least $2.5 billion over a five-year period.
According to West Flagler Associates, the Seminoles’ expansion of sports betting and casino operations violated federal Indian gaming law. The compact required the tribe to use a “hub-and-spoke” model for online sports wagering, funneling all bets outside tribal lands through the tribal server to circumvent a state constitutional amendment.
There was a question of whether a server located on tribal land could accept a bet placed by a patron. As a result of Judge Friedrich’s ruling last year, the justifications presented were discredited, calling them “fiction.” However, the D.C. Circuit found the bet acceptable as long as it was received on reservation land. Sports betting enthusiasts are eagerly awaiting a resolution to the ongoing legal battles that have delayed Hard Rock Sportsbook’s Florida launch.