Speculation over return of legal sports betting in Florida grows after second court ruling

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Seminole Tribe and the State of Florida scored another key victory in the court battle over legalized sports betting this week, and that could mean the relaunch of the Hard Rock SportsBook App in the coming days.


This week a federal appeals court in Washington DC denied a request to rehear a challenge to the State of Florida’s $20 billion 30-year gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe, which grants the Tribe the ability to offer sports betting statewide via its mobile app.

Gaming attorney Daniel Wallach said with an official mandate from the court set to be released Monday, you probably will have to hold your bets for the Jags vs. Chiefs game this weekend, but odds are Floridians will be able to place legal bets on the Jags V Texans game the following week.

“I think there’s a likelihood that sports betting will begin on Monday, but this isn’t the end of the controversy,” said Wallach.

Wallach noted one unknown is whether the parimutuel facility challenging the compact will request a stay of the mandate over the next two days, as it presumably looks to pursue an appeal to the US Supreme Court.

If it does, that could change the calculation for the Tribe, which would run the risk of having to shut down its app once again if the Supreme Court were to nullify the compact sometime in the future.

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“I mean they did that already in 2021 and a lot of people were unhappy about it,” said Wallach.

But Wallach argued the Tribe has a lot of money to lose by not relaunching, and it runs little risk legally speaking even if a stay is issued.

“It is a license to print money and they are not gonna walk away from a $1 billion-plus revenue opportunity because of the optics,” said Wallach.

The Tribe, however, is playing its cards close to its chest on the question of a potential relaunch date for the SportsBook app.

“The Seminole Tribe of Florida is pleased with the denial of the request for an en banc hearing by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals,” said Tribe spokesperson Gary Bitner in an emailed statement.

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