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The Florida sports betting saga took another turn yesterday when the US Supreme Court approved the Seminole Tribe to launch mobile sports betting in the state. The move comes just a week after Chief Justice John Roberts issued a temporary stay on the industry pending a full review. While the nation’s highest court did not give a reason for the change, it does clear the way for the Tribe to re-launch Hard Rock Bet in the Sunshine State.
“The denial of the stay by the U.S. Supreme Court is very good news,” said Seminole spokesman Gary Bitner of the ruling. “The Seminole Tribe of Florida is heartened by this decision.”
Mobile sports betting was temporarily available in Florida, but a legal challenge from two brick-and-mortar pari-mutuel betting companies quickly put it on hold. They have argued that the state made a mistake when approving sole mobile sports betting rights to the Seminole Tribe. This was done based on the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), which only covers gaming on Tribal lands. Since mobile betting will mostly be done off of those lands, the pair of pari-mutuel businesses argued that the IGRA shouldn’t apply.
There was also a question regarding the approval of the state’s gaming compact, which sets the rules and regulations for the industry. Florida’s constitution calls for a public referendum for any expansion to gaming in the state, which was not done.
While the arguments have some merit, federal courts have consistently pushed back, saying the case does not present enough evidence to merit overturning the compact.
While the US Supreme Court could still take the case, mobile sports betting in Florida now has the OK to launch.
While the pari-mutuel companies are challenging the gaming compact in federal court, they have also filed a lawsuit with the Florida Supreme Court. They have yet to review the case, but they are expected to follow the US Supreme Court’s ruling. Still, the Seminole Tribe could opt to hold off on re-launching their Hard Rock Bet app until the Florida court makes a decision.
Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid and has turned that into a successful career. He cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams along with his Alma Mater Arizona State. He specializes in baseball betting, but has experience in football, basketball, and hockey as well. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children.More info on Michael Savio
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