- Sports betting in FL was overturned, and the 2021 Gaming Compact signed by Ron DeSantis was thrown out.
- Judge Dabney L. Friedrich denied the Seminole Tribe’s motion to intervene in the case.
- Future compacts that are drafted will have to keep mobile betting on casino grounds only.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida sports betting was picking up steam over the course of this year, from the signing of the 2021 Gaming Compact Between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the State of Florida, to the launch of the Seminoles’ Hard Rock Sportsbook app.
It looks like it was all a bit pre-mature however, as the court just halted the blooming Florida market in its tracks.
Florida Sports Betting Back To Square One
Judge Dabney L. Friedrich ruled to stop the early launch of the Seminole’s Hard Rock Sportsbook app, and completely throw out the gaming compact that was signed earlier this year.
This was not the first lawsuit against the compact either, there were a couple of lawsuits against the new tribal gaming compact, some were previously thrown out.
“Although the Compact ‘deem[s]’ all sports betting to occur at the location of the Tribe’s ‘sports book[s]‘ and supporting servers … this Court cannot accept that fiction,’’ Friedrich wrote. “When a federal statute authorizes an activity only at specific locations, parties may not evade that limitation by ‘deeming’ their activity to occur where it, as a factual matter, does not.”
The Seminole Tribe made a motion to intervene in the case, but that motion was denied by Friedrich, who found that the plaintiffs had proved they would be “injured” by the state’s decision to allow exclusivity for mobile sports betting to be granted to the Seminole Tribe.
She went on to order that the state government reinstate the prior gaming compact, effectively putting the Florida sports betting situation back to square one.
Where Does Florida Sports Betting Go From Here?
While the groundbreaking gaming compact did not become a reality, there are other ways to go about realizing a sports betting market in Florida.
According to Friedrich, the next move would be drafting another compact, or potentially utilizing a “citizens’ initiative.”
This is unlikely to be the end of a sports betting industry operating within Florida, but rather a temporary setback. Although any future compacts that are drafted will have to keep all mobile betting on casino grounds only.