Will Florida in-person sports betting launch on October 15?
When Florida’s gaming compact was approved in May, a specific date stood out that caught the eye of Florida sports betting enthusiasts everywhere.
The date? Friday, Oct. 15, the earliest Florida could launch sports betting in the state.
When will Florida launch in-person sports betting?
We’re now two days away from Oct. 15, with nary a peep from the Seminole Tribe about a sports betting launch. We know Florida online sports betting will be delayed until the results of a Nov. 5 federal hearing, but nothing is currently stopping the launch of in-person sports betting at Seminole Tribe-owned casinos.
So will Floridians have the ability to place wagers in Hard Rock Casino sportsbooks this weekend? Don’t bet on it.
The Seminole Tribe has been quiet about any potential launch dates for in-person sports betting, and with only two days until the Oct. 15 launch it will be unlikely to happen. When asked about the potential to launch on Oct. 15, a representative from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood told Saturday Down South there are no current details to share about the potential launch date at this time.
So when could in-person sports betting launch in the state? What’s the hold up? The Seminole Tribe could be waiting on the results of a D.C. lawsuit for its online sports betting launch, which has a hearing date set for Nov. 5.
Two current lawsuits against Florida online sports betting
The lawsuit will be heard in a Washington, D.C. federal court. The suit was filed by West Flagler Associates, on behalf of Florida pari-mutuels, against Deb Haaland, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. It will determine the legality of online sports betting in the approved Florida gaming compact.
It’s not the only lawsuit Florida faces in regards to the legality of its online sports betting launch. A second suit was filed in a Florida court in late September, also by West Flagler Associates, on behalf of several Florida pari-mutuels. It is the second motion in the state for summary judgement and preliminary injunction to block the proposed Nov. 15 launch of Florida online sports betting.
The Florida lawsuit raises an IGRA challenge, but also raises violations of the Wire Act and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. The D.C. case shares some overlap in similarity with the Florida lawsuit, but mainly seeks to challenge the Department of the Interior’s approval of the gaming compact.
Daniel Wallach, principal at Wallach Legal, the country’s first sports betting-focused law firm, previously discussed the suits with Saturday Down South. While neither suit calls into contest the legality of in-person sports betting, Wallach said the chances of online sports betting being launch in Florida are slim.
The statutory language and agency interpretation of the law are clearly on West Flagler Associates sides in both of the filed lawsuits, he said. It’s “about as much of a slam dunk as you could see in the law,” Wallach said.
So, could the Seminole Tribe be waiting on a federal ruling for online sports betting before opening its doors to in-person sports betting? It’s possible, but we’ll continue to monitor the situation as we move toward the targeted Oct. 15 launch.