Florida sports betting has been a fits and starts journey but finally, it appears to be finding some firmer footing in the Sunshine State. The Seminole Tribe of Florida announced plans on Nov. 1 that it would offer expanded casino games on Dec. 7, including retail sports wagering. However, today the Seminole Tribe’s Hard Rock Bet Florida sports wagering app is being made available to some customers.
“The Seminole Tribe is offering limited access to existing Florida customers to test its Hard Rock Bet platform,” Trible spokesman Gary Bitner said in an email. No other details were provided. A message on the Hard Rock Bet “X” account (formerly Twitter) said, “Those who have bet previously with Hard Rock in Florida, including qualifying Unity by Hard Rock loyalty members, can bet now!”
A Major Victory for Seminole Tribe
This isn’t the first time that the Seminole Trible has launched an online sports betting app. The first occasion was in November 2021 but that effort was blocked after just several weeks by a federal court ruling that stymied a compact between the Seminoles and Florida Gov. Ron De Santis that had given the Seminoles substantial control over sports betting in the state. In exchange, the state would receive billions of dollars from the tribe.
However, since then, that lower court decision has been overturned by a federal appeals court and the case appeared headed toward the U.S. Supreme Court for further adjudication. The Supreme Court did hand down a decision in October, but it was in the form of not blocking the appellate court’s decision to overturn the lower court’s 2021 ruling.
That was seen as a huge victory for the Seminole Tribe and since then, the Seminoles announced the expansion of gaming in their brick-and-mortar casinos in Florida, which had been part of the original DeSantis-Seminole agreement. That expansion includes craps, roulette, and retail sports gaming, all of which are set to debut on Dec. 7.
Ready for Re-launch
In addition, came today’s move to re-launch the Florida sports betting app.
Underscoring the significance of the Supreme Court’s October decision, was this statement from Seminole tribe Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr. “The Seminole Tribe thanks the State of Florida, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department of Justice for defending our compact,” Oscelola said. “By working together, the Tribe, the State and the federal government achieved a historic legal victory.”
Jim Allen, CEO of Seminole Gaming and Chairman of Hard Rock International, said: “With the expansion of the new scope, we are creating over 1,000 new jobs made possible by the Compact. This is a historic milestone that immediately puts Florida in the same league with the world’s great gaming destinations.”
While the October developments in the Supreme Court opened the door for the Seminoles to take the recent actions, especially regarding online sports gambling, legal action does continue to churn.
Opponents of the DeSantis-Seminoles compact, West Flagler Associates and Bonita-Fort Myers Corp., are still planning to seek a review by the Supreme Court of a case against the U.S. Department of the Interior, which is the federal department that oversees tribal gaming.
In the meantime, there is some online sports wagering happening in Florida. Follow FloridaBet.com for all of the best Florida sportsbook promo codes as soon as they become available.