Late Wednesday, a federal district judge decided to reject a request by the Seminole Tribe of Florida for a stay on a ruling earlier in the week involving a gambling expansion. With this most recent decision, it means the tribe does not have a legal right to offer online sports betting in Florida.
Still Offering Services
While the ruling on Wednesday night says the Seminole Tribe cannot offer online services, the Hard Rock Sportsbook was still in operation as of Thursday. The app was accepting bets from players and appeared to be operating fully.
The app just started offering services on November 1 and gives the Seminole tribe a monopoly when it comes to sports betting in the state. The tribe and the state of Florida signed a new compact agreement earlier this year, allowing the tribe to offer online sports betting as well as additional gaming options.
On Monday, Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled that the tribe’s compact was in violation of the Indian Gaming Regulation Act. The judge says that sports betting by the tribe should be offered solely on tribal lands and what the tribe offers is available throughout the state.
After the ruling, the tribe filed the motion for a stay, claiming that it would lose substantial revenues by ceasing its sports betting services online. Funds from the services are used to provide for tribal programs.
The judge rejected the stay, commenting that the tribe had now shown that it would be harmed if the stay was not provided.
According to Judge Friedrich, a new agreement can be reached by the tribe and state but it must only allow the tribe to provide in-person sports betting and void online options. With only in-person wagering, the tribe would see a large decrease in revenue potential.
The Florida tribe feels that because the online sports betting servers are located on tribal lands, then they should qualify based on federal and state laws. The judge does not agree. The order by Friedrich reinstates a 2010 compact that does not provide sports betting or allow for roulette and craps, all of which are included in the 2021 compact.
For now, the tribe will have to rely on its emergency motion that was filed for a stay pending appeal within the Circuit Court of Appeals. If the stay is not granted in this manner, then it could be 2022 before the appeal is heard.