When Will Florida Sports Betting Launch? Not Today, But ‘Soon’

Written By Jenn Montgomery on October 15, 2021 - Last Updated on October 23, 2021

The good news: Sports betting in Florida is legal today.

The bad news: Due to pending litigations, you can’t bet in the Sunshine State yet.

When can I bet on sports in Florida?

“Soon.”

The Seminole Tribe has been advertising locally that sports betting is “Coming Soon.”

As of now, none of the tribe’s Hard Rock casinos have announced the opening of a retail sportsbook, though, technically could have opened on today.

However, with the pending DC-based lawsuits with West Flager Associates regarding the mobile sports betting component, the Seminole Tribe is not making any sudden moves.

Gary Bitner, the spokesperson of the Seminole Tribe, said in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that online and retail sports betting would be live by mid-December.

Hopefully, we will know for sure in the next few weeks. A judge will hold a hearing on Nov. 5 for one of three lawsuits challenging the gaming contracts between the Seminole Tribe and the state.

Depending on the conclusion of that case, sports betting could launch within the next 60 days.

Where can I find a sportsbook in Florida?

The Seminole Tribe could open a Hard Rock Sportsbook at any of their Hard Rock casinos in Florida.

There are two Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casinos in Hollywood and Tampa. Gamblers can find Seminole casino locations in:

  • Brighton
  • Coconut Creek
  • Hollywood
  • Immokalee

What are the legal challenges?

Three legal challenges could hold up sports betting in Florida until 2022. The lawsuits in play challenge the tribal compact, the US Department of the Interior, and/or the Florida governor:

  1. West Flagler Associates v Florida Gov. Ron Desantis — The plaintiffs argue that mobile sports betting happens where the bettor is situated, not where the gaming server is based. This means the tribal compact signed by Desantis and approved by the state legislature violates the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).
  2. West Flagler Associates v Deb Haaland and Department of the Interior — The plaintiffs argue that the recent compact reached between DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and subsequently ratified by the Florida legislature, impermissibly extends sports betting in the state “to any person located anywhere within the state of Florida,” which does not follow the tenets of the IGRA of 1988 that limits gambling to tribal land.
  3. No Casinos Group et al. v Deb Haaland and Department of the Interior — The plaintiffs argue that the compact’s edit constitutes an end-run around a 2018 constitutional amendment that placed the decision about gambling expansion in the hands of the voters. The measure, known as Amendment 3, was passed with more than 71% of the vote.

Dates to watch:

  • Oct. 19: Plaintiffs file their reply brief to support their motions and necessary response briefs.
  • Oct. 26: Defendants file their reply briefs in support of any cross-motions.
  • The parties ask the DC court to schedule a motions hearing between Oct. 26 and Nov. 15.
Photo by Dreamstime.com
Jenn Montgomery Avatar
Written by
Jenn Montgomery

View all posts by Jenn Montgomery