The Seminole Tribe announced they would implement most of the 2021 Florida gaming compact next month. On Wednesday, the tribe, which has exclusivity on casino gaming, said it would launch craps, roulette and retail sports betting at their casinos starting Dec. 7.
The only piece of Florida’s next gaming expansion that wasn’t mentioned was online sports betting. However, a local talk show radio host is reporting the tribe will kickstart Florida online sports betting first.
According to the tribe’s press release, retail sports betting will be available at their casinos in early December. As a result, Floridians will be legally allowed to bet on sports again.
However, the Seminole’s online sportsbook, Hard Rock Bet Florida, was not mentioned in the release. In November 2021, the tribe was briefly allowed to offer sports betting. During the three-week stint where it was legal, the tribe only accepted bets through their online sportsbook.
Rumor: Hard Rock Bet app to relaunch in Florida within 2-3 weeks
The compact gave the Seminole Tribe exclusive rights over the Florida online sports betting market. A few months after the compact was passed, the tribe launched the Hard Rock Sportsbook Florida app. However, a federal judge ruled the compact violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Consequently, the tribe shuttered its online betting operations.
Fast forward to today. The relaunch of sports betting in Florida is on the horizon and there is no mention of online betting. But it may come sooner than you think.
Andy Slater is a radio talk show host for Fox Sports 640 in South Florida. He said sources told him Hard Rock Bet will launch before retail betting starts.
Slater recently posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that sources have told him that the Hard Rock Bet will be up and running in Florida within the next 2-3 weeks. In other words, online sports betting will come before retail sports betting, craps and roulette.
SLATER SCOOP: Sports betting in Florida will begin on the @HardRockBet app within the next 2-3 weeks, sources tell me.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida announced they’ll be opening in-person sportsbooks and craps/roulette tables on Dec. 7.
The mobile app will launch before then.
— Andy Slater (@AndySlater) November 1, 2023
It is important to note the Seminole Tribe of Florida has not given any relaunch date for the Hard Rock Bet online sportsbook and the tribe has not commented on Slater’s reporting. So this 2-3 week timeline is unconfirmed.
Since the tribe holds all the cards in the Florida online sports betting market, there is no need to rush a relaunch. But an earlier launch could mean more revenue for the tribe.
First, more people would bet through a statewide app as opposed to traveling to their nearest casinos. In some areas, it would take several hours to get to one. Secondly, an earlier launch would allow for more NFL betting. That being said, they would still be the only game in town regardless of when they choose to launch the site.
Could courts get in the way of a potential Florida online sportsbook launch?
The US Supreme Court has cleared the way for in-person sports betting in Florida. However, the issue of online sports wagering in the state remains in the air.
A lawsuit challenging broader online sports betting remains pending at the Florida Supreme Court. This case is separate from the federal lawsuit denied by the Supreme Court to allow for retail betting.
West Flagler, the ownership group of a Florida pari-mutuel challenging the compact, claims that only voters can approve an expansion of gambling in the Sunshine State. Gambling lawyer Daniel Wallach took to X, stating that the group will likely ask the Florida Supreme Court to suspend the state’s mobile sports betting law for the duration of the case.
He adds that the Florida Supreme Court has an “all writs” power to issue a stay or an injunction to preserve the status quo of a pending proceeding. Meaning the court can block any relaunch of mobile sports betting until it reaches its own decision.
The Seminole Tribe’s online sports betting app was up and running for only 34 days before shutting down due to legal challenges. As part of the 2021 Florida gaming compact between Florida and the Seminole Tribe, the state was guaranteed $2.5 billion in the first five years and an estimated $6 billion through 203o from sports betting revenue.