Florida Sports Betting Compact Ruled Legal – Sportsbooks To Reopen In Late August

In December 2021, domestic sportsbooks in Florida were shut down due to a legal challenge to the state’s gaming agreement with the Seminole Tribe and their Hard Rock Casinos.

In June, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favor of the compact between the Sunshine State and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, reestablishing a sports betting monopoly that the tribe will continue to possess for the next 30 years.

Of all the options for legal gambling in Florida, domestic sports betting is the only type that is limited to one operator, save for the state lottery.

Where’s The Beef?

The state’s card rooms want in on the action, and so do outside providers like DraftKings and FanDuel, who have collectively funneled millions of dollars toward failed lobbying efforts.

In 2021, these card room owners got together and actually received a favorable judgment against the existing gaming compact. The agreement was ruled illegal in a federal district court because mobile sports betting would take place off of tribal land.

Three appellate judges reversed that decision because the servers hosting the FL sports betting apps are located on tribal lands.

The Seminole Tribe expects more legal action to come their way. Due to this, the Seminoles are going through all the fine details prior to reopening retail sportsbooks at their Hard Rock Casino locations. The same can be said for their mobile sportsbooks.

When Will Sports Betting Restart In Florida?

Upon the initial ruling in appellate court, no timetable was given regarding the reopening of local sportsbooks in Hollywood and Tampa. Many insiders are anticipating a launch date that corresponds with the start of college football betting on August 26th when the Navy Midshipmen and Notre Dame Fighting Irish kick off the season.

“The judgment confirmed the legality of the 2021 Gaming Compact between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the state of Florida which both modernizes gaming in Florida and extends the relationship between the State and the Tribe for years to come…”

A Written Statement From The Florida Gaming Control Commission Regarding The Ruling

Despite the potential for a massive annual influx of sports betting revenue into tax coffers based on Florida’s large population and tourism industry, there is still plenty of opposition to the existence of local sportsbooks.

“No Casinos” is an anti-gambling group that was formed back in the 1970s and works in opposition to gaming interests across the country. The organization vows to continue the legal fight to overturn the current compact.

“This decision will not be the final word on this issue… the Florida Constitution requires that Florida Voters… have the final word on gambling authorization…”

John Sowinski, No Casinos Spokesperson

With so many legal hurdles remaining, if and when FL sportsbooks do open, place your bets quickly. They could be short-lived.

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