Legal sports betting “temporarily suspended” in Florida

A District of Columbia appellate court panel late Friday dealt another blow to the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s efforts to control online sports betting in Florida.

Action News Jax first told you when a federal judge struck down sports betting statewide on Nov. 22.

Judge Dabney L. Friedrich of the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia determined the agreement, otherwise known as the Seminole Compact, violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). The ruling invalidated the compact between Florida and the Seminole Tribe which includes craps, roulette, and any casino expansions in South Florida.

Following the court’s latest decision Friday, the tribe did not indicate whether or not it will discontinue the games as it pursues an appeal:

“The Seminole Tribe is aware of today’s appeals court decision and is carefully considering the steps it will take as a result,’’ said Gary Bitner, spokesman for the tribe. “Despite the decision, the Seminole Tribe looks forward to a hearing from the appeals court based on the appeal previously filed by the tribe and an expected appeal by the U.S. Department of Justice.”

Daniel Wallach, who teaches sports betting law at the University of Miami School of Law, told reporter Robert Grant the IGRA requires gambling to take place exclusively on Indian land―so if you’re wagering on a mobile device in Jacksonville, Key West, or Daytona Beach, it’s technically not on Indian land. The Seminole Tribe argued it was legal because the servers were kept on tribal land, but Judge Friedrich didn’t buy it.

Hard Rock Sportsbook announced Saturday it is temporarily suspending new bets and deposits on its mobile app.

Samantha Mathers

Samantha Mathers, Action News Jax

Samantha Mathers is a digital reporter and content creator for Action News Jax.