Seminole Tribe relaunches limited version of Florida sports betting app

November 8, 2023
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There are currently two ongoing court cases against the Tribe.

The Seminole Tribe has relaunched a limited version of its Florida sports betting app, despite the fact there are currently two ongoing court cases against it, in relation to the practices of the app. 

Seminole spokesman, Gary Bitner, in a statement, said the Tribe was “offering limited access to existing Florida customers to test its Hard Rock Bet platform.” The potential early access is being offered to people who placed a sports bet with Hard Rock in 2021 or those who were members of its Unity loyalty program. 

In 2021, Governor Ron DeSantis allowed the Seminoles to offer online wagering within the boundaries of Florida, with the Seminoles agreeing to pay $2.5bn to the state over the next five years and potentially even more in the future. 

This led to a federal lawsuit being placed against the Seminoles, by West Flager Associates and Bonita-Fort Myers Corp, claiming the deal violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The other lawsuit before the state Supreme Court looked at an amendment to the Florida Constitution that requires voters to approve any expansion of gambling in Florida. 

The lawsuits led to online wagering being paused in 2021, with the app only being active for 34 days, after it had been launched without an official announcement

Law professor and gambling expert at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Bob Jarvis, commented on Seminole launching the app even with the lawsuits currently occurring: “There is a theory that … you are better off being up and running because it is harder for a court to stop a business that is up and running because, of course, it impacts both workers and customers. So maybe that’s the Seminoles’ thinking.” 

At the end of October, the Biden administration encouraged the US Supreme Court to advance an appeals-court ruling to move ahead in a decision regarding whether the state of Florida will allow sports betting, potentially leading to legalized mobile sports betting in Florida. 

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