July 3, 2023 3 min read


US Court Reinstates Seminole Tribe’s Sports Betting Monopoly in Florida

The agreement, which allowed the tribe and its Hard Rock casinos to operate sports betting, roulette, and craps, was challenged by opponents who argued that it violated federal Indian gaming laws

In a major victory for the Seminole Tribe of Florida, a federal appeals court has ordered the Department of Interior to restore the tribe’s agreement with the state that granted them exclusive rights to sports betting in Florida. 

Court Ruling Paves the Way for Seminole Tribe’s Hard Rock Sportsbook Relaunch

The legal battle began when the Seminole Tribe discreetly launched sports betting in Florida on November 1, 2021. However, just three weeks later, a federal judge ruled that the compact between the tribe and the state was in violation of federal gaming laws, and the sports betting operation was shut down.

The recent ruling by the three-judge panel on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit unanimously reversed the lower court’s decision, stating that federal gaming law allowed the state to enter into a 30-year agreement with the Seminole Tribe to control sports betting in Florida as reported by the Miami Herald. The agreement also required the tribe to pay the state a minimum of $2.5 billion over the first five years of the deal.

While the ruling opens the door for the tribe to relaunch its Hard Rock Sportsbook betting app and potentially build two new casinos in South Florida, opponents of gambling expansion expressed concern. They believe the decision could lead to further legal challenges based on the state’s constitutional provisions, which require voter approval for the expansion of gambling in Florida.

The Ruling on Seminole Tribe’s Sports Betting Compact Set to Spark Implications Beyond Florida

The compact’s provision allowing the tribe to operate sports betting outside of tribal lands through their servers raised questions about its compliance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). However, the appeals court ruled that IGRA permits tribes to accept sports bets remotely, as long as the betting occurs on tribal lands. Any questions about whether bets placed from non-tribal lands within Florida are lawful would be left to the state courts.

Governor Ron DeSantis’ administration welcomed the decision and reiterated its commitment to working with the Seminole Tribe to ensure the success of the historic compact. Projections estimate that the state could receive over $20 billion in tribal gaming revenue over the 30-year agreement.

Legal experts predict that the ruling will have significant implications beyond Florida, as tribes across the country may seek online sports betting privileges through their Class III gaming compacts.

This could potentially lead to further legal challenges and even a US Supreme Court battle over the interpretation and scope of IGRA.In other news, the gaming brand of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Hard Rock International, is opening a new boutique hotel and casino called Rocksino in Deadwood, South Dakota, on August 8. The establishment aims to provide economic stimulus to the city and will feature a casino, restaurant, bar, and a Rock Shop Retail Store, and will also support the local community through a partnership with the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.


Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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