Florida Sports Betting Lawsuit: Attorney Says IGRA Does Not Permit Gaming Off Tribal Lands
Steve Bittenbender - Feb 20, 2024
Florida sports betting is back with Hard Rock Bet announcing an early access period and retail betting starting on December 7. Here's what you need to know about how to access Florida sportsbooks.
If you're searching for answers on Florida sports betting, you've come to the hub for all information regarding legal sports betting apps in Florida.
Previously, the Seminole Tribe suspended online sports betting in Nov. 2021 after a brief one-month stint in the face of a series of legal challenges, mainly from West Flagler Associates. West Flagler alleged that the Compact violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) because it would allow bets to be placed off tribal land. The Seminole Tribe and the U.S. Department of the Interior appealed rulings barring Florida online sportsbooks. Major sports betting operators like FanDuel and DraftKings attempted to enable state residents to vote in favor of Florida sports betting in November 2022. Still, the proposal did not garner enough signatures to make the ballot.
Under the compact, the Seminole Tribe would exclusively manage sportsbooks for online betting in Florida, with the pari-mutuels contracting with the tribe. The deal also would have allowed the Seminoles to offer roulette and craps at tribal casinos. A provision to allow the tribe after three years to negotiate for even more online and mobile games, such as smartphone slots, was nixed before the agreement.
The Seminoles would have paid Florida about $20B, including $2.5B over the first five years. Horse and former dog tracks and jai-alai frontons would pull in 60% of the amount bet through their facilities, with the rest going to the tribe. The state would have taken a 10% cut off the top.
I will track updates in the world of Florida sports betting and list them here. Bookmark this page and check back regularly to stay updated on when sports betting launches in Florida.
Yes, sports betting is legal in Florida. However, online betting is not fully available just yet as Hard Rock Bet is only allowing it for those who placed bets in November 2021 or were Unity by Hard Rock loyalty members prior to November 6. All other hopeful mobile bettors will have to join a waitlist. The Seminole Tribe also recently announced in-person wagering would begin December 7 at the six tribal casinos it operates in Florida: Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Seminole Classic Casino Hollywood, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa, Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee, and Seminole Casino Brighton.
If the current sports betting legislation is upheld, the Hard Rock Bet app will be the only Florida sportsbook available in the state.
There has yet to be a target date announced for a full rollout of online sports betting in Florida and its availability is currently limited to select groups of bettors. Retail sports betting, or in-person wagering, will launch on Thursday, December 7 across the six Seminole-owned casinos in Florida.
There has been significant progress with Florida's sports betting bill, the Florida Seminole Gaming Compact. The most significant Florida sports betting legal updates have centered around courts dismissing stays of West Flaglers' initial appeal. This has led to the Seminole Tribe and Hard Rock feeling comfortable enough to launch online betting in a limited capacity and announce the start date for retail betting. Additional legal updates are as follows:
In June 2023, a D.C. District Court of Appeals overruled an earlier 2021 decision by Judge Dabney Friedrich that struck down the Compact. The appeals court's ruling, which states that the Compact does not violate the IGRA or the Wire Act, leaves the door open for sports gambling to resume in Florida under the terms of the Compact.
On September 11, 2023, the US Appeals Court, DC Circuit decided they would not rehear the case that took sports betting off the table in the first place. But, as mentioned above, this means the case could be brought back to Florida courts or even the Supreme Court, so the legal battle is not over.
Cardrooms in Miami and south Florida had previously filed a lawsuit alleging the compact violated the federal IGRA because it would allow gambling off property owned by the Seminoles and Florida Constitution Amendment 3, which requires that voters only permit sports gambling.
In 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis agreed to the Compact, which would have allowed the Seminole Tribe to serve as the state’s hub for sports betting. The compact said the tribe would exclusively handle Florida’s mobile and in-person bets.
The legal age to sports bet in Florida would be expected to be 21. However, since Florida sports betting is not yet legal, we won’t know for sure. Anybody over 18 is currently allowed to wager on horse racing, bingo and the lottery in Florida.
Nearby states with legalized sports betting, including Louisiana, Tennessee and Mississippi, have set the legal betting age at 21.
Our staff of veteran gambling reporters keeps you up to date with the latest news on Florida sports betting. Below is a timeline of the latest industry updates.
We pride ourselves on bringing you breaking news and analysis of all developments in online sports betting, so bookmark this page to continue getting the latest updates.
No, you cannot sports bet in Florida yet. But you might be able to soon, given that the D.C. District Court of appeals overturned an earlier court decision that nullified the Florida-Seminole Gaming Compact. However, West Flagler Associates could continue the appeals process either in the D.C. Circuit Court or the U.S. Supreme Court. If they pursue either of those avenues, it could take years to be able to place a sports bet in Florida.
Major operators FanDuel and DraftKings attempted to get a sports betting measure on the state's Nov. 2022 ballot, but failed to get enough signatures.
No, you do not need to be a Florida resident to bet online when it becomes legalized in the state. In every state where sports betting has been legalized, sportsbook customers must simply be located within state boundaries to be able to play. Modern sportsbooks come with geolocation checkers to ensure players are on licensed territory.
You cannot bet on sports in Florida yet, but you may be able to soon. The Florida-Seminole Gaming Compact was ruled viable by the D.C. District Court of appeals. If and when sportsbooks begin operations in Florida, we will update you here with a guide on how to bet on sports in Florida.
You can bet on sports in Florida right now with Hard Rock Bet. However, that is the only option for sports bettors in Florida today. Of course, the platform offers everything you need to place sports bets on your favorite teams. Still, Florida is the only state with only one active operator.
While other brands can't get involved in traditional betting yet, brands like FanDuel are offering unique DFS betting options for Florida bettors in case they inevitably enter the Florida market.
Yes, online sports betting in Florida is legal right now. The Gaming Compact allows for betting with sportsbook apps or other mobile devices in Florida, which was being challenged by cardroom operators in the state who alleged the Compact violated the IGRA. However, the D.C. District Court of Appeals sided with the Seminole Tribe, so mobile sports betting could go live in Florida soon.
There are currently no Florida sportsbooks operating in the state. Hard Rock Bet, partnered with the Miami Dolphins and has naming rights to their stadium, was briefly up and running in Florida in late 2021 before the compact was struck down.
Hard Rock is also partnered with the Tampa Bay Lightning NHL team. BetWay is partnered with the Miami Heat in the NBA, while FanDuel is partnered with the Orlando Magic.
We don’t know exactly when Florida sportsbooks will launch, given the court's recent ruling, but it likely wouldn't be until late 2023 or early 2024 at the earliest. Depending on the next steps West Flagler Associates decides to take with its next appeal, either at the D.C. Circuit Court level or the U.S. Supreme Court, the legal process could continue for several years.
Georgia, Florida’s neighbor to the north, saw its latest sports betting legislation attempt fail in March 2023. Florida’s other neighboring state, Alabama, had a 2021 bill and a 2022 constitutional amendment fail to make it through the state legislature. The closest states with legalized sports betting are Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee.
There are no legal sportsbooks in Florida yet, but the appellate courts restored the Compact in June 2023. That could open up the possibility for sports betting to come to Florida very soon.
Horse race betting has been live in the state with the FanDuel Racing app and DK Horse app, but non-horse racing sports betting is still not live in Florida.
Hard Rock Bet is partnered with the Miami Dolphins and has naming rights to their stadium. Hard Rock is also partnered with the Tampa Bay Lightning NHL team. BetWay is partnered with the Miami Heat in the NBA, while FanDuel is partnered with the Orlando Magic.
Should Florida sports betting expand beyond one sportsbook, fans of the Dolphins, Lightning, Heat and Magic will be happy to bet with their official team sportsbook partners.
Florida Sports Betting Lawsuit: Attorney Says IGRA Does Not Permit Gaming Off Tribal Lands
Steve Bittenbender - Feb 20, 2024
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At this time, and for the foreseeable future, the only available Florida sportsbook will be Hard Rock Bet due to the monopoly the Seminole Tribe has over gambling in the state. This is the only app we expect to be legalized unless other operators can strike a deal with the tribe, though that would likely not make financial sense for those companies.
If there were to be expansion for Florida sportsbooks, these are the companies that would most likely appear in the state:
The experience of other states suggests that sports betting in Florida would be a highly lucrative market. Those operating it would likely issue several licenses, possibly one for each of the seven tribal casinos in the state, to encourage greater competition and a top experience for players.
Now that it appears the Florida-Seminole Gaming Compact will stay intact, Hard Rock Bet Florida will have exclusive access to the state. Luckily for Florida bettors, the Hard Rock Bet app was recently revamped and is a fantastic platform with great features that you would expect from the top apps in the industry.
Amid the fierce competition to attract customers who want to enjoy sports betting, Florida bettors will have superb brands to visit.
While choosing the best Florida sports betting operator will ultimately be personal, it will be worth checking out the BetMGM Florida Sportsbook. In the many states where it is live, BetMGM offers a broad range of sports and markets, fantastic promos and bonuses, and an outstanding user experience on its website and app.
FanDuel has moved swiftly to establish itself as one of the leading online sportsbook brands in the United States. It began as one of the leading providers of Daily Fantasy Sports games and pivoted rapidly after repealing the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018.
Now part of the global Flutter empire, FanDuel offers superlative online and mobile sports betting services in the states where it is licensed. Along with DraftKings, FD was attempting to persuade lawmakers to allow operators to offer mobile sports betting and online services, but fell short of the required signature total to make it onto the 2022 ballot.
DraftKings was one of the brands dominating the burgeoning Daily Fantasy Sports scene in North America over the last decade. After PASPA was struck down, it pivoted rapidly to offer sportsbook services and now delivers online sports betting in several states. It complements its extensive markets on sports across North America and beyond with outstanding customer experience. This will undoubtedly be one of the best Florida betting sites if and when it is licensed to go live.
Barstool Sportsbook has officially been rebranded to ESPN BET following the operators' successful launch on November 14. Now in states where Barstool had previously held licenses, users can download and wager with ESPN BET.
This is the first operator with the ability to truly shake up an industry that has been dominated by four main brands for the past few years.
Sports betting might still be illegal in Florida, but there are other forms of wagering allowed within the state. I'll break down the biggest thing you need to know about each type:
The Florida Lottery currently consists of several draw games and scratch games, with occasional fast play games available from time to time. You can play the Mega Millions and Cash4Life, two multistate games that operate in Florida.
Online lottery games are not permitted in the state, so you must visit a retail location (of which there are over 13,000 authorized locations) to play the lottery in Florida. However, there is a mobile app with helpful features for you as you play.
Betting on horse racing at racetracks is fully legal in Florida. Many horse racing tracks are also home to "racinos," such as the Magic City Casino in Miami and the Bonita Springs Poker Room. Such horse racing sites could become venues for retail betting if sports betting in Florida is legalized.
DFS operates in a legally gray area in Florida. It has never been declared legal in Florida - but it has never been specifically outlawed either. Players select a side from various teams and score depending on their performances.
Across the United States, it is strictly forbidden to wager on the outcome of all local, national and international elections. Even if legislators make sports betting legal in Florida, it is inconceivable that any licensed U.S. operator will offer odds on elections. However, some UK sportsbooks are offering odds on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis 2024 presidential odds.
Wagering on award show events, such as the Academy Awards, Emmys or Golden Globes, is legal in some states, but not others. It is not yet known if you will be able to bet on the Oscars or other awards in Florida.
Placing bets on eSports is permitted in some states, while others outlaw it due to the relative youth of many participants and audience. It remains to be seen if Florida sports betting sites would include eSports wagers.
It will be fascinating to see what shape regulated sports betting might take in Florida. Given the size of the commercial opportunity in Florida, it will be surprising if the state does not opt for a fully licensed model in which major sportsbooks are allowed to offer a complete range of online and mobile betting options, as well as a retail capability through partnerships with casinos, racinos and other physical premises.
As it stands right now, betting can only take place on Seminole Tribe-owned land.
The path to legal sports betting in Florida has been one with lots of twists and turns. Below is a timeline of where legislation has gone in the last four decades:
There are currently no active regulators for Florida sports betting. If Florida sports betting goes live, it would be regulated by the Florida Gaming Control Commission. The FGCC was set up in the 2021 Florida-Seminole Gaming Compact to exercise "all regulatory and executive powers of the state on all forms of gambling authorized by the State Constitution or law.”
There are currently no licensed Florida sportsbooks. Check back here for updates as we learn more about the D.C. District Court of appeals' ruling effect on sports betting in Florida.
Under the terms of the Florida-Seminole Gaming Compact, the state would stand to collect $2.5B over five years, which would likely be the biggest expansion of gambling in Florida history. Florida received $187.5M from the deal from October 2021 to February 2022, but the tribe discontinued payments in March, according to state economists. Gov. Ron DeSantis said in 2021 that the compact would create over 2,000 jobs in the state.
As we learn more about the timeline for legalized sports betting in Florida, we have a Florida gambling winnings tax calculator available to help you get ready for your wagers and your tax returns.
Selecting an online sportsbook that is right for you is, by definition, a purely personal choice. However, there are certain attributes you should look for to give you comfort that you will have an enjoyable sports betting experience.
To start with, the best sportsbooks are licensed and regulated by the relevant gaming authority and have a reputation for treating their customers honorably and fairly. You may also want a broad choice of sports to wager on and of ways to bet, or maybe your prime concern is the generosity of pricing on offer. Let's look at some of these considerations in more detail.
It is worth spending some time researching the opinions of those who have signed up for particular sportsbooks in other states. Focus on how they are treated by the operator in question so that you can be sure of fair treatment. You should also find out more detail on issues such as the quality of the sportsbook app and the generosity of its pricing. We will be carrying reviews on every legal sportsbook coming to Florida to give you an in-depth look at their performance and reputation elsewhere.
It is essential that the top Florida sports betting sites offer an extensive range of options when it comes to wagering on sport. Bettors have many different preferred ways of investing their money. Some may want a simple moneyline bet on the Jacksonville Jaguars to win. Others might want to combine the Jags in a parlay with the Florida Gators, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs. Still more might favor player or team prop bets. Leading operators should facilitate all these wagers and more.
Sports betting should be exciting, but it should also be profitable if you are making the right selections. As your sports betting awareness becomes more sophisticated, you will know how to compare the generosity of lines offered by different operators. You will be able to calculate the margin being taken by the sportsbook. The ability to compare lines and odds is one reason why you might benefit from having accounts with several sportsbooks.
Every good sportsbook offers a steady stream of bonuses, as well as a generous and compelling sign-up offer for new customers. Odds boosts are a great way of giving extra value to existing customers, as are parlay insurance and refer-a-friend bonuses. All Florida online sportsbooks we review and recommend will have some form of bonus for new and existing customers.
Of course, you can have all the great bonuses in the world - but if the process of accessing them is slow and glitchy, you will take your customer elsewhere. The best Florida online sportsbooks invest heavily to ensure their desktop sites, and especially their mobile apps, are as user-friendly as possible. This means it is easy to find your way to the markets you are interested in, and quick and simple to bet on them once you are there.
All Florida betting sites will have a variety of methods for depositing money to play with. The really good ones have a broad range of withdrawal options too. Make sure that the banking methods on offer suit you and the way you like to manage your money. The most common banking options include credit and debit cards, bank transfers, pre-paid cards and e-wallets. You may want to use a combination of these to ensure the quickest withdrawal time. Flexibility and speed of payment are a key consideration when ranking mobile betting options.
Nobody enjoys it when something goes wrong with your online betting experience. All you can hope is that the sportsbook in question has ways of tackling and correcting that problem as quickly as possible. In our reviews we look at the availability of live chat and email, as opposed to automated systems. Ideally, you should be able to speak to a representative on a toll-free number. Also, good sportsbook websites carry detailed FAQs that might be helpful to you.
It is possible, if and when the Florida house and the rest of the Florida legislature decide to allow FL sports betting, that you simply are unable to choose one sportsbook to play with. In such circumstances, it makes sense to open more than one account. Indeed, given that it is free to sign up with a sportsbook and you should qualify for a welcome bonus at each one, it makes sense to try various operators - especially if this market is new to you.
The sports betting industry is ultra-competitive. Every online sportsbook is looking to secure and retain customers, and one of the best ways to deliver extra value is through Florida sportsbook promos & bonuses, especially for new customers. You should definitely take advantage of any sign-up bonus available when you open an account because it will give your balance a welcome boost.
Not all sportsbooks offer the same lines and odds on particular bets. Some will have better lines at different times. By signing up for several sportsbooks and shopping around, you will soon find out which one offers you the best value.
If sports betting in Florida is fully legalized, and statewide mobile wagering is permitted, it is certain that sportsbooks in the state will offer a range of attractive offers to lure customers in this big new marketplace. There is nothing to stop you signing up with several sportsbooks to take advantage of all the betting bonuses available.
Some betting sites use the same back-end systems as their competitors, and that includes their pricing. This means you may see the same odds on futures betting and props, and exactly the same range of sports offered. By opening multiple accounts, you increase the chance that you will have more options and will be able to compare sportsbooks to find the best value for you.
When you are considering signing up for a sportsbook, it is worth taking some time to explore the website or sportsbook app. How does it feel for you? Does it suit the way you want to bet? People want different things from sportsbooks, and it is worth test-driving the various options under consideration before going ahead with the process of opening accounts.
There are differences when it comes to sportsbooks' rules on wagering and payouts. For instance, DraftKings refunds NFL first touchdown scorer props if no one scores a touchdown, but bet365 does not because it already carries an option to bet on no one scoring. BetMGM pays out on golf props if two players tie; not all sportsbooks do. As you become more experienced in your betting, you will see increasing numbers of differences that can influence your choice of wager.
Many potential bettors will appreciate the opportunity to place sports bets on retail premises if allowed the near future. It is conceivable that locations such as the Seminole Classic Casino Hollywood and other casinos operated by the Seminole tribe in Hollywood and Tampa Bay could be used for such a purpose.
The biggest difference that Florida mobile sports betting offers will be convenience. The sophistication of modern sports betting apps is such that an enormous amount of information can be conveyed via a small screen.
Given the pace of modern life, many people appreciate the ability to bet quickly and easily while they are on the go. Retail sports betting is a more relaxed and leisurely experience, but mobile sports betting is increasingly favored by bettors for the efficiency and speed with which bets can be placed.
Below you'll find a breakdown of the most popular types of bets the top sportsbooks offer. These would be expected to be the types of bets available to Florida bettors if and when sports betting is legalized.
🗣️ Learn More: How To Bet On Sports In Florida
Florida is home to at least more than one team from every major league sport, including the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL, as well as multiple college teams. I expect Florida sports betting to include all the major sports as betting markets if and when it does go live in the near future.
Football is big business in every corner of the USA, and Florida is no exception. Football is a sport that lends itself brilliantly to a host of betting opportunities, and the Super Bowl is the biggest annual betting event in the world. Three teams in the NFL, the richest sports league in the world, call Florida home.
They include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who won the 2021 Super Bowl, the Miami Dolphins and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Click the links below to track their playoff chances and Super Bowl odds all season long.
Of all the Big Four sports, basketball was always the one most keen to embrace the potential of sports betting. The NBA is enormously popular, with the sheer volume of events on the calendar enhancing its status as a favorite medium for investment by regular bettors. The presence in Florida of two NBA teams, including the 2023 Finals-winning Miami Heat, ensures a high level of betting interest in hoops.
The World Series has not been won by a Florida team since the Marlins (then known as the Florida Marlins) prevailed in the Fall Classic of 2003. Nevertheless, baseball remains America's Game, and sports bettors old and new enjoy the numerous wagering opportunities that a game and season present. This is a sport that, with its numerous breaks and non-stop stats, is a perfect in-play betting medium.
Hockey's status as a genuinely national sport has been enhanced by the exploits of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Stanley Cup finals winners in both 2020 and 2021. The NHL attracts a high level of wagering interest in states where sports betting is permitted. And the more adventurous sportsbooks find that markets on the big European leagues keep hockey bettors entertained too.
Wagering on college sports teams is a gray area. In some states, no bets can be taken on any NCAA action. In others you are prevented only from betting on in-state college teams' games. Elsewhere, however, betting on college football and other sports is permitted. It remains to be seen whether Florida sports betting sites are allowed on college sports - with a wealth of top-flight teams in the state, this is a question many bettors will want answered.
With multiple NFL teams in Florida alongside multiple NBA teams and NHL teams as well as major college athletic programs littered throughout the state, there is a plethora of Florida teams so bet on when the state goes live with betting apps.
For the vast majority of sports fans, placing a bet on their favorite action is a pleasant, stimulating leisure experience. For a small minority, however, gambling can lead to addiction, which in turn causes personal and financial problems. Leading sportsbooks have become alert to the necessity of encouraging responsible betting on their platforms. Most include links on their home pages to extensive resources of advice and practical assistance for anybody concerned about the extent of their wagering. These include advice on limiting bets and self-excluding, as well as links to sources of expert help. There are also several well-established national and local bodies, such as the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, who offer help and support for people, and their families, who may be affected by gambling issues.
Hard Rock Bet Florida has announced an early access period for select bettors in the state. Those who placed wagers with Hard Rock Bet FL in 2021 or were existing Unity by Hard Rock loyalty members can start today. You can join the waitlist by enrolling in the loyalty program and earning 1+ Unity point in person at a casino.
Sports betting in Florida is legal today although it is not completely live for everyone in the state. Hard Rock Bet Florida has opened an early access period for certain bettors to place wagers online while in-person betting will begin Thursday, December 7 at the six Seminole-owned casinos in the state.
As of November 2023, online betting is now available for some bettors via an early access period with Hard Rock Bet Florida. Retail betting (in-person) will launch December 7 at the six Seminole Casinos and Hard Rock properties throughout the state.
Yes, sports betting pools are illegal in Florida. The Florida-Seminole Gaming Compact was struck down in federal courts and is currently undergoing the appeals process, so it is unclear if or when different types of sports betting will be allowed.
Yes, it is legal to bet on sports in Florida. The Hard Rock Bet Florida app has recently opened an early access period for select bettors to start wagering today prior to a full launch across the state. Retail betting will be launched on December 7.
Anybody over 18 can wager on horse racing, bingo, and the lottery in Florida. Sports betting, however, will carry a legal age of 21 and older. This is the case across the majority of legal sports betting states with a few exceptions.
Cited by leading media organizations, such as: