Beginning this December, casinos in Florida owned and operated by the Seminole Native American tribe will begin offering sports betting as well as a few new casino games. This decision being made by the Seminoles comes in the wake of a ruling by the US Supreme Court that allowed them to expand sports betting and gambling operations. This ruling came after more than 2 years of battling with pari-mutuel owners from across the Sunshine State.
The owners have since lost their lawsuit and exhausted all appeal options, which leaves the Seminoles in a great place to get ahead of the competition in Florida. As it stands, Seminole Hard Rock is the only brand legally allowed to operate casino gambling and sports betting in Florida and there is no reason to think other operators will be entering the market anytime soon.
In-Person Sports Betting Going Live
For now, the plans announced by the Seminole tribe include in-person wagering that will be taking place at any of the tribe’s six casinos in Florida. Online sports betting still exists in a state of limbo. The reintroduction of online sports betting is not going to happen in Florida anytime soon because a lawsuit was brought before the Florida Supreme Court earlier this year. The lawsuit, which is expected to be heard by the US Supreme Court, challenges the Seminole’s proposed offering of online sports betting.
Under the current plan, sports bets placed on mobile devices in Florida will all be run through servers located on Seminole land. By virtue of this, the tribe says, sports bets are actually being transmitted on sovereign tribal land. The lawsuit maintains that this is patently untrue and that the sports bet becomes a sports bet when and where it is placed, not where it is eventually computed.
At the Seminole’s top location, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, new casino gambling including roulette and craps, is slated to go live on December 8th. The other five locations will see new casino gambling instituted on either December 7th or December 11th.
Who is Behind the Online Sports Betting Lawsuit?
The people fighting the existence of online sports betting in Florida are West Flagler Associates and Bonita-Fort Myers Corp., both gambling operators themselves. The lawsuit is expansive but mainly hits at the fact that any sort of online sports betting being offered the way the Seminoles envision is in violation of Amendment 3. This amendment requires that expansions of gambling operations must be approved by voters.
In theory, Seminole Hard Rock could get away with offering online sports betting now. In reality though, they are biding their time and being patient because in the midst of this lawsuit, relaunching an online sports betting application may not be the smartest move. All in all, Hard Rock and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are convinced that they and their original gambling pact will prevail in the end. Though there is a lot that remains unclear at this point, what we can be sure of is that this is far from the last sports betting news we will be hearing from Florida this year.