Seminole Tribe Shuts Down Sports Betting App Amid Legal Disputes

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino entrance


The Seminole Tribe of Florida has temporarily shut down their sports betting app as an appellate court in the District of Columbia denied the tribe’s request to continue sports betting while they are appealing a federal ruling shutting down the Seminole Gaming Compact.

“Due to yesterday’s appellate court decision, the Hard Rock Sportsbook mobile app will temporarily suspend accepting new bets and deposits. Player information and account funds are safe and secure, and the app will remain online for easy withdrawals via all payment methods,” a tweet from the Hard Rock Sportsbook app reads.

Gary Bitner, a spokesman for the tribe, said the tribe is looking forward to defending the “validity” of the compact.

“Despite the decision, the Seminole Tribe looks forward to working with the State of Florida and the U.S. Department of Justice to aggressively defend the validity of the 2021 Compact before the Appeals Court, which has yet to rule on the merits of the 2021 Compact,” Bitner said.

The Seminole Gaming Compact is a revenue sharing agreement between the Seminole Tribe and the State of Florida that permits legal sports betting through the app and the Seminole Tribe serves as the lone facilitator of sports betting. However, Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled last month that the compact violated a federal rule within the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act requiring the sports bettor to be on tribal land.

Until Saturday, the sports betting app has been downloadable for smartphones and sports bets can be placed from anywhere as long as there is a connection to the servers. Attorneys for the tribe have said that since the sports betting app’s servers are on tribal land, the sports bettor is within the law.

Friedrich referred to the tribe’s explanation as “fiction” and recommended Florida lawmakers come up with a new gaming compact allowing sports betting solely on Seminole land, not through smartphones.

The gaming compact was agreed upon back in the spring and supported by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. However, DeSantis acknowledged the compact was “an unsettled legal issue.”

“They wanted to do the sports (betting), and so we said ‘fine,” DeSantis said. “And the reason why I’d said that is because it would probably pass on a referendum anyways. And then if a company gets it, the tribe gets it anyways. So, we felt that that made sense.”

– – –

Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Entrance” by Valerie. CC BY 2.0.






Related posts