Sports betting will likely have to wait until at least 2023 to place again in Florida. Bettors across the Sunshine State were able to place bets on Hard Rock Sportsbook as the Seminole Tribe quietly launched the app without any sort of press release or social media update.
Why was the Sports Betting Operation in Florida Shut Down?
The sports betting operation was going well until a US District Judge ruled that the operation was deemed illegal. Like some states that joined the sports betting industry, the Seminole Tribe didn’t require bettors to sign up in person to use the apps.
However, Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled that the compact signed between Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe was illegal as it violated the state constitution and the federal Indian Gaming Regulation Act. The Tribe did all of it with several appeals, but its attempts all fell short.
Bettors that had funded their accounts had a designed time frame to withdraw money from their accounts. With the Tribe’s request being denied by both the Friedrich and the DC Circuit, the operation had to be shut down. The Tribe technically wasn’t a defendant in this case but opposed the conclusion that was drawn out.
By continuing the business venture, the Seminole Tribe would have been able to monopolize the state’s sports betting market. This would have prohibited third-party mobile sportsbooks from entering the market. A similar situation is happening in California as the battle continues between the Tribes and the bookmakers.
What’s Next on Florida’s Potential Sports Betting Market
It’s scheduled that both the Seminole Tribe and the federal government will submit their opening briefs by August 17th. The federal government will have until October 3rd to respond. Pari-mutuel operator West Flagler Associates and the other plaintiffs involved in this case must submit their response by October 6th.
A reply to the West Flagler brief must be filed by November 14th by the federal government and the Seminole Tribe. Regardless of the result that will be drawn, the losing side will most likely challenge the outcome. The final decision may be reached towards the end of 2023 or beyond.
There is another alternative that could take place to jump-start the Florida sports betting market once again. Sportsbook competitors DraftKings and FanDuel joined forces in 2022 to get a bid to push a separate sports wagering initiative. However, the measure fell short by more than 370,000 signatures.
Sports betting may be on the ballot as soon as 2024. This means that sports betting will not be operational in the Sunshine State until 2025. Sports gambling may not be legal in the state, but the state offers its residents DFS and PrizePicks, which is an under/over based platform regarding player props.
Can Sports Betting Be a Lucrative Business Venture in Florida?
As part of the initial proposal, the Seminole Tribe agreed to pay the state at least $500 million per year to run sports wagering in Florida in exchange for exclusive rights to operate sports wagering. This didn’t work out, but sports betting could still be a lucrative business as the Sunshine State is the third most populous state in the country.
New York, which has the fourth largest population in the country, is the largest and most successful market in the industry. Florida has many professional sports franchises and collegiate programs that could garner a lot of interest for potential bettors.