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There were no bursts of fireworks or flutes of champagne to celebrate the much-anticipated launch of online sports betting in Florida but on Monday the Seminole Tribe began allowing in-state gamblers to place online bets on professional sports.
After months of anticipation, Sunshine State punters can finally download the Hard Rock Digital’s (HRD) Hard Rock Sportsbook app and make deposits and legal wagers on pro football, basketball, hockey, and other sports, joining over half the states in the US who have already made sports betting legal.
Early reports from one gambling site found the app “buggy” after the Android version crashed multiple times when switching between the various tabs, but those newbie hiccups will most likely be ironed out in no time so that users can gamble without issues.
According to HRD, Monday’s launch is considered an “early access launch” which explains the lack of fanfare as well as why the app is only being made accessible at the operator’s website instead of the Apple App Store or Google Play store.
The other explanation for Monday’s quiet launch could be all the legal challenges that still exist.
As we have covered extensively in the past, several lawsuits have been filed all aimed at halting the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe from launching legal sports betting for residents.
The lawsuits essentially claim the compact in question gives the tribe a “monopoly over sports betting” as well as breaks federal law by allowing online wagers to be placed outside of tribal land by using a loophole where the server is located within the Seminole property.
One of those suits has already been dismissed (Federal Judge Dismisses First of Three Lawsuits Filed Against FL Sports Betting) with the federal judge saying in a 20-page ruling that the plaintiffs did not have the standing to sue the state.
The federal version of that suit is still being processed as well as another similar lawsuit filed by two outspoken critics of the Florida Gambling scene in general, two cases that we will continue to cover as more details unfold so keep checking back for updates.
In the meantime, Florida sports betting revenue is beginning to pour in.
As is the case in other states where sports betting continues to be illegal, Florida residents had already been placing bets on pro sports, they were just using offshore sportsbooks or traveling to neighboring states to do it.
Now that Florida has joined the many other states with a legal sports betting market, those gambling dollars that flowed elsewhere will stay in state and, according to the gaming compact, result in at least $2.5 billion to the state over the first five years of the 30-year agreement.
And the benefits don’t just stop there, as Governor Ron DeSantis has told the media:
Not only will this compact bring a guaranteed $2.5 billion in revenue over the next five years, but it also brings together Florida parimutuel businesses from across the state in a creative partnership with the Seminole Tribe providing increased access to safe and transparent sports betting in Florida.
Reportedly, the state of Florida has already received the first payment of $37 million from the tribe in October, a money flow that should start benefitting all residents in the coming years.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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