There was no notice, no signs that Florida and the Seminole Tribe would launch Florida online sports betting today.

But here we are. The Seminole Tribe and Hard Rock Sportsbook has officially launched online sports betting in the state. As first reported by Andy Slater of Fox Sports 640, Florida residents can create and fund sports betting accounts with the Hard Rock Sportsbook app and place sports bets.

Florida online sports betting is live

Florida online sports betting still faces a mountain of legal challenges, but for now it is live and allowing residents to place bets.

Online sports betting was included in the approved Florida and Seminole Tribe gaming compact and has long been a point of contention with Florida pari-mutuels and anti-gambling state groups.

Launch ahead of federal hearing may prove costly

A lawsuit filed in Washington, D.C., by West Flagler Associates against Deb Haaland, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, will likely determine the future of Florida online sports betting and will be heard this Friday, Nov. 5.

The D.C. lawsuit will be heard in an Article III regulated court by an objective judicial body.

The Seminole Tribe’s decision to launch online sports betting prior to the hearing may prove to be a costly decision, Daniel Wallach, principal at Wallach Legal, told Saturday Down South.

“Jumping the gun in advance of a federal court hearing (directed to that very issue) will likely not go over well with the federal district court judge, particularly after it was represented in court papers that the launch would not be before November 15. That may prove to be another unforced error. We’ll see on Friday,” he said.

Prior agency interpretations of IGRA, two failed prior attempts by Congress to amend IGRA to expand its reach to include online sports betting, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmation that bettors placing mobile wagers outside tribal lands is not protected by IGRA and Florida’s prior admission on an almost identical point all lead to trouble for the online sports betting component of the gaming compact, Wallach previous told Saturday Down South.