Is Florida Sports Betting At Hard Rock Really Starting Friday Or Not?

Posted on October 14, 2021
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Written By on October 14, 2021

The path to Florida sports betting has a few more twists in it yet.

The Seminole Tribe theoretically can take bets on its lands from Friday under the state’s revised compact. The tribe contends that includes mobile bets via servers on its property.

However, the Seminole are reportedly not ready for launch just yet.

Delay for FL online sports betting

The Orlando Sentinel reported this week there would be at “least a month delay” for FL sports betting – both online and retail.

Seminole Tribe spokesperson Gary Bitner told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel sports betting in Florida would instead be live by mid-December.

LSR contacted the Seminole to confirm the report, but was told:

“We have not released any dates regarding the launch of sports betting in Florida. Anything reported to the contrary is not coming from the Tribe.”

A glimpse at Hard Rock sportsbook?

Meanwhile, Hard Rock Digital (HRD), which will run online gambling for the tribe, has teased some product shots on social media.

Hard Rock Digital is run by former Stars Group execs including:

  • Rafi Ashkenazi, Executive Managing Director and Executive Chair
  • Marlon Goldstein, Executive Managing Director and CEO
  • Matt Primeaux, Executive Managing Director and President

LSR understands via industry sources that HRD is developing much of its own sportsbook product on top of source code purchased from Amelco.

Legal questions over FL online sports betting

Of course, a legal dispute hangs over the entire market.

Opponents have filed multiple lawsuits against the revised Florida gambling compact that allowed sports betting. Those opponents include anti-gambling group No Casinos and local pari-mutuel tracks.

The argument centers on exactly where a mobile bet is placed. Is it where the bettor is situated or where the server that processes the bet is situated?

The tribe argues the latter. Therefore, all bets take place on tribal land and comply with federal law.

The combined case will likely have a hearing in Florida on November 5.

Uncertain future

In the meantime, No Casinos president John Sowinski told the Orlando Sentinel the tribe should be wary of investing in a product that might not be legal.

“The Tribe probably realize that they proceed at their own risk in terms of venture capital and whatever is expended until the courts make a determination on this,” Sowinski said.

In addition to the legal dispute, external operators like FanDuel and DraftKings are also looking for ways into Florida. Those companies filed a ballot initiative to put statewide mobile sports betting up to voters in 2022.

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Brad Allen

Brad has been covering the online gambling industry in Europe and the US for more than four years, most recently as the news editor at EGR Global.

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