Still No Tentative Launch Date for Florida Sports Betting
Sorry, Florida sports bettors. It looks like it might be a little longer before you can cast legal bets in-state. Back in May, Florida’s gaming compact was officially approved by local legislators.
When that finally happened, one specific date stood out among others; the earliest date that Florida would be able to launch sports betting statewide. That date was October 15.
That date, clearly, has passed, and the Seminole Tribe of Florida has been forced to delay the statewide sports betting industry launch. Online sports betting will be delayed until after a federal hearing scheduled for November 5, but in-person sports betting at Seminole Tribe-owned casinos should be on schedule.
But it didn’t happen on October 15, so when is this launch going to happen? It’s still being marketed as coming later this fall, which could mean anything. The Seminole Tribe has not yet released a date, tentative or not, for this launch.
The reason for this delay is a series of lawsuits that were filed around the Florida gambling compact. According to the Florida Phoenix, the suit was filed by West Flagler Associates, on behalf of Florida pari-mutuels, against Deb Haaland, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. It will determine the legality of online sports betting in the approved Florida gaming compact.
A second suit was filed in late September, also by West Flagler Associates. It is the second motion in the state for summary judgement and preliminary injunction to block the proposed November 15 launch of Florida online sports betting. The Florida lawsuit raises an IGRA challenge, but also raises violations of the Wire Act and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.
The federal hearing for both of these lawsuits is scheduled for November 5, and the launch date for the sports betting industry will most likely be delayed until the results of the hearing. There is still no date set even for a tentative launch date, so bettors will probably have to wait a while longer before they can cast bets legally in Florida.
According to the aforementioned Florida Phoenix, the Seminole Tribe is planning to conduct its sports betting operation through Hard Rock Sportsbook, which is a branch of Hard Rock Digital, a joint venture of Seminole Gaming and Hard Rock International that launched last December. Whether the tribe will launch mobile sports-betting and on-site betting at the same time is unclear.
It is unfortunate that Florida sports bettors and sports fans are still unable to place legal bets in their state, and it is even more unfortunate since everyone thought the launch would take place back on October 15. Who knows how long this federal hearing will take to resolve?
Will Florida sports betting still be launched in “late fall?” When October is nearly over, what even qualifies as late fall? Bettors will simply have to remain patient until this hearing is over, and hopefully after that, the Seminole Tribe will announce a set launch date for the Florida sports betting industry.