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Google Bans Sports Betting Ads in Florida as Seminole Tribe Appeals Federal Ruling

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated October 14, 2022
3 min read
Google Shuts Down Florida Sports Betting Ads
  • Google Shuts Down Florida Sports Betting Ads After Recent Ruling by Federal Judge 
  • Seminole Tribe Compact with Florida Ruled Illegal, Violates Federal Indian Gaming Law
  • Tribe Appeals Ruling, Continues to Collect Wagers Through Hard Rock Sportsbook

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Google Shuts Down Florida Sports Betting Ads After Recent Ruling by Federal Judge

It was bad news for sports betting advertisers in Florida as Google Ads, Google’s online advertising platform, announced that it would no longer allow sports gambling ads in Florida, the result of a recent ruling by a Federal Judge meant to halt that lucrative market in the state.

In a statement on its online support page, Google said:

In November 2021, the Google Ads Gambling and games policy United States country-specifics will be updated to disallow Sports Betting in Florida. We will begin enforcing the policy clarification on November 24, 2021.

Google Ads allows advertisers to bid to display brief advertisements, service offerings, product listings, or videos to web users, and the company supports “responsible gambling advertising” so long as it abides by local gambling laws and industry standards.

Now that individual states can decide if they want to legalize sports betting for their residents, Google’s platform accepts sports betting advertisements in the US as long as the ads promote “state-licensed entities in certain states where it’s legal.”

And after a recent ruling by a Federal Judge, that “legal” status no longer applies to Florida.

Seminole Tribe Compact with Florida Ruled Illegal, Violates Federal Indian Gaming Law

As we recently reported in a story Federal Judge Halts Florida Mobile Sports Betting, Tosses Amended Seminole Compacts, US District Court Judge Dabney L. Friedrich nullified the amended gaming compact between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and state officials.

In her ruling, Judge Friedrich decided to nullify the entire 30-year Florida gaming compact that gave the Seminole Tribe exclusive rights to the online and retail sports betting market in Florida, saying it violates federal Indian gaming law.

According to Friedrich, by allowing mobile sports wagers to be placed from anywhere in the state so long as the computer servers that handle the action are located on tribal land, the amended compact violates the laws previously set by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).

That ruling was supposed to put sports betting in Florida on hold, but that is not the case.

Tribe Appeals Ruling, Continues to Collect Wagers Through Hard Rock Sportsbook

The next day after the judge’s ruling, the Seminole Tribe of Florida filed a notice of appeal as well as a “motion for stay pending appeal,” and since then the tribe has continued to collect wagers through its Hard Rock Sportsbook.

As of last Wednesday morning, Florida bettors were still able to place sports bets using that Hard Rock app, a move that could produce legal repercussions for the tribe.

It’s a matter of financial survival, according to lawyers for the tribe, and Marcellus W. Osceola, chairman of the Seminole tribe, filed a statement with the court, saying, in part:

The tribe’s online sports betting authorized by the compact is now in operation and is generating millions in revenue per week. The tribe is using these funds to pay back the development costs for its online sportsbook, make revenue-sharing payments to the state, and fund important tribal programs.

Keep checking back for the latest news and updates on this unfolding situation.

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Mike Lukas

Sports Betting & Gambling Industry Analyst

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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.
Nationality: American
Education: N/A
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