Last Monday, online sports betting officially became available to all Florida residents. On November 3, the Florida Seminole tribe launched the Hard Rock Sportsbook app, its online wagering platform. The launch of the new app, which went without much pomp, marks the start of a new era of sports gambling in the Sunshine State.
Sports Betting Becomes Legal in Florida
The Hard Rock Sportsbook app comes out less than a month after sports betting became officially legal in the state of Florida under the state’s gaming compact. Governor Ron DeSantis and the chairman of the Seminole Tribe, Marcellus Osceola, signed the compact back in April. The state lawmakers approved the agreement one month later, in May.
The governor described the agreement as historical. He added that it will bring millions in revenue to the state. As part of the deal, the Seminole Tribe will be obligated to pay the state the amount of at least $2.5 billion during the first five years of the compact. The agreement is signed for a period of 30 years. Furthermore, 60% of the profits that come from marketing will be transferred to the pari-mutuel facilities. DeSantis said that bringing together multiple pari-mutuel facilities from across Florida is another huge benefit of the compact, The partnership with the Seminole Tribe will provide safe and convenient betting for everyone involved.
The deal enables Florida residents to place a wager from anywhere in the state. They will be able to bet on sports through casinos in Florida. The Hard Rock Sportsbook app is available on smartphones and other smart devices. In addition, gamblers can transfer betting money from Venmo or PayPal. All bets are processed through the servers located on the compact property, According to the compact, this means that any bet made on a mobile device is still deemed as conducted by the tribe.
Legal Challenges to the Gaming Compact
The premiere of the new app happens as two of the state’s Venmo casino operators have put forward a legal challenge to the compact. Two pari-mutuel facilities and the federal government are now engaged in a legal battle concerning the betting part of the agreement. The U.S. Department of the Interior which ultimately approved the compact is now being sued by the owners of Bonita Springs Poker Room, located in Southwest Florida, and Magic City Casino which operates in the Miami-Dade County.
Plaintiffs claim that the compact is in violation of federal law. Furthermore, they claim that it will cause a huge and devastating effect on their business operations. Not long ago, the judge rejected another lawsuit challenging the compact.
The two lawsuits are scheduled for hearing later this month. The first one will take place on November 5. Some experts feel that the early release of the Seminole Tribe’s mobile app may backfire and prove to be a costly decision. They think that the federal district judge won’t be thrilled with the early launch, as the court papers state that the release was supposed to happen on November 15.