Online sports betting has returned to Florida sooner than anticipated, as the Seminole Tribe has quietly relaunched its Hard Rock Bets mobile platform in the Sunshine State. This comes a month before in-person betting is set to begin at Tribal casinos across the state.
The platform is currently accessible to existing customers who signed up for an account when Hard Rock Bets first launched two years ago. Additionally, casino patrons who are part of the “Unity by Hard Rock” loyalty program are also permitted to use the online sportsbook. New customers have the option to sign up for a waitlist, but it is uncertain when they will be able to start placing bets.
However, the mobile launch happens amidst continued legal disputes by opponents of the Seminole Tribe’s sports betting monopoly, led by pari-mutuel operator West Flagler Associates. The Tribe’s confidence in the gaming compact it signed with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is evident despite these challenges.
West Flagler’s argument against the gaming compact centers on the Tribe’s ability to accept sports bets placed off of its reservation without violating the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and state gaming laws. However, supporters of the compact argue that the mobile sportsbook is legal because it operates through computer servers located on Tribal land.
The launch of the Hard Rock Bets platform allows existing mobile customers to place wagers a month before in-person betting becomes available to everyone at the six brick-and-mortar casinos operated by the Tribe in Florida. In-person sports bets are scheduled to commence on December 7 at three Seminole casinos in South Florida before being gradually introduced at other locations.