Judge Denies Seminole Application For Stay Of Ruling

  • Judge Dabney Friedrich has denied a stay of her ruling that Hard Rock Sportsbook must cease operations.
  • The Seminole Tribe applied for the stay after her original decision.
  • Hard Rock Sportsbook went live in November 2021, and is currently live at the time of writing.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich has struck another blow against online gambling in Florida. Friedrich, who ruled against Florida’s hub-and-spoke model of online sports betting regulation, also denied the Seminole Tribe’s request for a stay of the ruling.

The Tribe, which made a deal with the state of Florida that Friedrich viewed as contravening the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, is currently operating an online sportsbook in Florida.

The stay, they claimed, would help the tribe fund programs that they had budgeted for via the sportsbook app.

Friedrich did not buy this point of reasoning, claiming that the tribe had not demonstrated irreparable harm that could only be rectified by a stay.

The Hard Rock Sportsbook app has been operating in the state since Nov. 1 2021, and is currently still operating.

Why Did The Sportsbook Get Ordered To Shut Down?

The law at issue is known as the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which Friedrich found that the Seminole-Florida deal was in violation of.

Friedrich purported that the deal, which created an online sportsbook that hosted servers on Seminole Tribe land, but allowed bettors outside that land to access the sportsbook, was legal fiction.

This model is known as the hub-and-spoke model, and was generally believed by both the Seminoles and the state of Florida to successfully navigate the pitfalls of online gambling legalization.

For now, it seems, that is not true - Friedrich’s decision could be appealed, but it seems clear that she is not going to be favorable to what the state and the Tribe have come up with.