The Florida Supreme Court has decided not to stop the Seminole Tribe from offering sports betting in the state while a legal battle over the tribe’s gambling monopoly continues. The court’s decision came in response to a request from pari-mutuel operators West Flagler Associates and Bonita-Fort Myers Corp. The operators had asked the court to suspend sports betting and expedite a resolution to the case, but the court denied their request in a unanimous order on Friday.
The legal battle revolves around a tribal gaming compact that the Seminole Tribe reached with the state in 2021. The compact, which was signed by Governor Ron DeSantis and endorsed by the state legislature, allowed the tribe to expand the games offered at its casinos and gave it exclusive access to mobile sports betting. West Flagler has asked the court to invalidate the compact, arguing that it violates the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and the state’s constitution.
While the court’s decision is a setback for opponents of the sports betting arrangement, the underlying case will continue, and a ruling is expected sometime next year. In the meantime, the tribe has launched its Hard Rock Bets mobile sportsbook in the Sunshine State, allowing select customers to begin placing bets. New customers can sign up for a waitlist to gain access to the platform.
In addition to sports betting, the tribe’s casino offerings are also expanding to include craps and roulette under the terms of the 2021 compact. These games will be rolled out at the tribe’s six casinos in the state beginning next month, further expanding the tribe’s gambling offerings.
The legal battle over sports betting in Florida has been ongoing for the past two years, and the Supreme Court’s decision not to halt the tribe’s activities while the case continues is a significant development in the state’s gambling landscape. Regardless of the outcome of the case, one thing is clear – the expansion of sports betting and casino games in Florida is well underway.