Sports bettors wishing to play in Florida will have to have even more patience.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. District on Monday set a timetable for the Florida sports betting case.
According to the court, opening briefs from the federal government are set for Aug. 17, followed by an answering brief from West Flagler Associates nearly two months later, on Oct. 6. The Seminole Tribe of Florida is set to reply Nov. 14, along with the federal government.
What does it all mean?
Based on that timeline, a decision for Florida sports betting likely won’t come until 2023.
Last year, the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Gov. Ron DeSantis reached an agreement on a compact to bring sports betting to the Sunshine State. In November 2021, mobile sports betting was operational, making Florida the largest state to offer it.
But that only lasted a few weeks as mobile sports betting was suspended in early December after opponents of the compact took it to federal court. They argued that mobile wagers were not placed on tribal lands, which was a key component of the compact that servers operating sports gambling would follow the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
Florida Legislature Approved Compact
The Florida Legislature approved the 30-year compact in a special session, with promises of more than $2 billion in tax revenue ($500 million annually).
Two cases were filed against the Department of the Interior (which approved the compact), one by Monterra MF, LLC and the West Flagler Associates, causing the compact to be thrown out by U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich.
The compact is now in the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit. If it gets a second chance, the Hard Rock Sportsbook app, which exclusively served customers during its 34-day legal run, would once again operate legally in Florida.
If the compact does not return, a new-and-improved compact would not be expected in Florida until the 2023 legislative session, at the earliest, meaning Florida most likely wouldn’t have sports betting until 2024 or 2025.
Florida Sports Betting Would Be Huge
The appetite for Florida sports betting is massive, with nine professional sports franchises in the Big Four (NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL). The state also has a pair of Major League Soccer franchises, Inter Miami CF and Orlando City SC.
Florida is also home to double-digit Division I athletic programs including the University of Florida, Florida State University, Central Florida, University of South Florida and the University of Miami.
The state also has the third-largest population at 21.9 million, after California and Texas.
There is also plenty of cash to bet with in Florida, if sports wagering is legalized. Last month, the Florida House of Representatives proposed its budget of $105.3 billion, a 3.6% increase from last year with a $2.7 billion increase in general revenue spending.