Florida Launching Retail Sports Betting in December

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General view showing the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Zak Bennett/AFP

The Seminole Tribe has announced they will be offering an expanded gaming menu at each one of their six casinos, and part of that expansion includes retail sports betting for Floridians.

Sports Betting Arrives

Although mobile sports betting continues to be mired in a legal morass, the path appears to be clear for the Seminole Tribe to offer retail sports betting at their Hard Rock casinos beginning in December. There will also be craps and roulette added to the casino menu as a welcome addition for those who want the standard variety of casino table games.

Said Jim Allen, CEO of Seminole Gaming and Chairman of Hard Rock International: “With the expansion of the new scope, we are creating over 1,000 new jobs made possible by the Compact. This is a historic milestone that immediately puts Florida in the same league with the world’s great gaming destinations.”

“The Seminole Tribe thanks the State of Florida, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department of Justice for defending our Compact. By working together, the Tribe, the State, and the federal government achieved a historic legal victory,” said Marcellus Osceola Jr., Chairman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Governor Ron DeSantis said, “The Seminole Tribe of Florida’s new initiative will create jobs, increase tourism, and provide billions in added revenue for our state. I was proud to work with the Tribe on our historic Gaming Compact and I look forward to its full implementation.”

The expansion rollout is as follows:

December 7, 2023

  • Seminole Casino Coconut Creek
  • Seminole Classic Casino Hollywood
  • Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood

December 8, 2023

  • Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa

December 11, 2023

  • Seminole Casino Brighton
  • Seminole Casino Immokalee

Status of Mobile Betting in Florida

The Seminole Tribe launched mobile betting quietly and without the usual fanfare as litigation was still pending in November 2021. But that didn’t last very long, as the parimutuel company, West Flagler Associates, had won the first legal challenge shortly thereafter and the Seminoles were forced to shutter their digital operation.

When a Seminole spokesperson was asked about mobile betting today, the reply was terse, “This news is about in-person sports betting. No additional information is available today.”

There’s Still Hope

It is an understandably sensitive topic as the legal volleyball has been in play for several years now but the most recent courtroom victories have favored the Seminole Tribe.

The plaintiff appeared to gain a little early traction with the U.S. Supreme Court after losing an appeal with the DC Circuit Court of Appeals when attorneys for West Flagler asked the SCOTUS to consider a stay while they worked on filing for a writ of certiorari that would allow them 90 days to put their case together to plead with the SCOTUS to hear their case.

Justice Roberts initially allowed the emergency petition and temporarily stayed the mandate from the Appeals Court, which put another obstacle in front of the Seminoles’ hopes to offer mobile sports betting. However, upon further consideration, the stay was not granted, which means the likelihood of the SCOTUS hearing the case is considered a long shot.

West Flagler has a better chance to win their case at the state level, where the Florida Supreme Court is currently taking it under advisement. Until then, retail sports betting is about the best Floridians can do if they want to make a bet.