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Why Florida’s Sports Betting Launch Now Faces at Least a One-Month Delay

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated October 14, 2022
3 min read
Florida Sports Betting Delay
  • Sports Betting Became Legal in FL on Oct. 15, but Seminole Tribe Not Ready
  • Litigious Speed Bumps Stalling Florida’s Sports Betting Launch
  • Seminole Tribe’s Hard Rock Sportsbook Set to be First to Launch 

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October 15th was the official legal sports betting launch date in Florida that was never going to happen, mainly because the Seminole Tribe is not ready to take bets from Sunshine State gamblers, nor were they planning to be.

A spokesperson for the tribe told the media that the Seminoles were never actually planning to launch on October 15 despite that being the date mentioned in the gaming compact between Florida’s government and the Seminole Tribe.

Legally, as of last Friday, the tribe is technically allowed to take sports wagers at its casinos and online, but apparently, it was never going to happen by that day and now that official launch date could take another month or longer, that’s according to the Orlando Sentinel.

The main reason for the delay?

Legal red tape from multiple sources.

Litigious Speed Bumps Stalling Florida’s Sports Betting Launch

From the start, that gaming compact between state and tribe was in question as we have reported on in Florida Gambling Critics File Federal Lawsuit to Halt Sports Betting Launch, with at least two lawsuits pending in this situation.

In short, one suit, filed by two outspoken detractors of Florida gambling, is against US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and claims that when the federal government approved the changes to the compact, it violated federal Indian gaming law and the federal Wire Act.

Another suit, filed by West Flagler Associates, the owners of Magic City Casino in Miami and Bonita Springs Poker Room, essentially “makes the same arguments, but we have a different agenda.’’

The main claim in both ongoing lawsuits revolves around a questionable loophole being used here where Florida bettors would be able to make online wagers outside of tribal land, which would be illegal except that the servers that handle those wagers are located on tribal land.

We cover that tricky loophole in greater detail in a recent WSN story, but for now, we know that a hearing is scheduled for Nov. 5 regarding the lawsuit between Florida and Magic City Casino and Bonita Springs Poker Room.

If the judge dismisses that suit, sports betting should fully launch within the following 60 days.

Seminole Tribe’s Hard Rock Sportsbook Set to be First to Launch

Of course, that’s a lot of “ifs” and “maybes” to count on going well, but assuming all that red tape gets handled, Florida bettors will be able to start placing sports wagers online and in person.

The Seminole Tribe is partnered with Hard Rock Digital, which is expected to be the first online sportsbook to get up and running in Florida, followed soon after by the retail version at the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, FL, where punters can experience all the action in person.

It would behoove all parties involved to settle these matters before the end of the year, but according to attorney Daniel Wallach:

It could be late 2022 before the issue is resolved before a federal appeals court.

Then, if the US Supreme Court gets involved, further delays in Florida become inevitable, so check back often for all the latest news and updates.

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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
Favourite Sportsbook: bet365 Sportsbook
Favourite Casino: Caesars Palace Casino
23 years
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