After the U.S. Supreme Court recently made a decision favorable to the interests of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the operator of multiple casinos within the state of Florida is moving forward with an expansion of on-site gambling options at its properties. The Tribe expressed on Wednesday morning that it plans to debut new gaming types at its Florida casinos beginning Dec. 7.
At this time, however, the Tribe has not shared any plans to resume the online sports betting that a gaming compact amendment affords it the opportunity to engage in. Thus, it’s still unclear exactly when the Hard Rock Bets online sportsbook will be available for Floridians.
Seminole Tribe announces gaming expansion plans
According to a Wednesday news release from the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the beginning of December will see new gaming available for patrons at its six Florida casinos. The implementation of the new gaming types will be the realization of a compact amendment that the Tribe negotiated over two years ago.
The release lays out specific dates for certain gaming types at individual properties. The gaming types that will begin on the specified dates are craps, in-person sports betting, and roulette.
- Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, Seminole Classic Casino Hollywood, and Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood: Dec. 7
- Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa: Dec. 8
- Seminole Casino Brighton and Seminole Casino Immokalee: Dec. 11
At this time, there is no update about when the Seminole Tribe will resume offering online sports betting in Florida. It could be some time before such information becomes available.
Legal status of online wagering still somewhat uncertain
Some Floridians will remember that for a short time in 2021, Hard Rock Bets was taking online wagers in Florida. A lawsuit that Florida off-track betting site operators West Flagler Associates filed against US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland was the main reason such betting was only available for a short time.
The litigation of that complaint has mostly worked out in the Seminole Tribe’s favor to date. However, much of the dispute was over the legality of the Seminole Tribe accepting online bets from Floridians on a statewide basis.
West Flagler argued that federal law limits the Seminole Tribe’s ability to accept online bets to only when people are physically located on the Tribe’s lands. However, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed with that logic in October.
After that ruling, West Flagler appealed the decision to the US Supreme Court. It also asked the Supreme Court to stay the DC Court’s ruling. The Supreme Court denied that petition for a stay. It has yet to announce whether it will review the DC Court’s ruling on its merits, though. Furthermore, challenges to the compact in state court are also pending.
Because that appeal is still pending, the Seminole Tribe may be reticent to re-launch Hard Rock Bets online. A second “false start” may do more damage to the brand than Hard Rock Bets could easily overcome in Florida.
Whether the Seminole Tribe will indeed wait to see whether the Supreme Court will take up the appeal is unclear. For certain, though, physical sportsbooks inside Seminole casinos around Florida will open as soon as Dec. 7. People wanting to play craps and roulette inside those casinos will be able to do so at that time, too.
This is a developing story and will receive updates when more information becomes available.