HOLD ALL YOUR BETS
Gambling on sports is off the table in Florida, at least for now, after the Seminole Tribe suspended its online sports-betting operations Saturday morning.
The tribe stopped accepting wagers on its Hard Rock SportsBook mobile app after an appeals court on Friday refused to put on hold a judge’s ruling that said a deal giving the tribe control over sports betting throughout the state violates federal law.
Account balances for all current players will be refunded as requested.
Friedrich ruled that the deal violates the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, or IGRA, which creates a framework for gambling activity on tribal lands. The ruling centered on gamblers being able to place wagers throughout the state, rather than strictly on the Seminoles’ property.
Friedrich also found that the compact violated a 2018 constitutional amendment that requires statewide voter approval for expansions of gambling, including sports betting.
But the judge noted that her decision "does not foreclose other avenues for authorizing online sports betting in Florida." She wrote, the state could negotiate a new compact with the tribe "that allows online gaming solely on Indian lands."
Friedrich also suggested that Floridians could approve a citizens’ initiative to allow online sports betting, an effort already underway that could get a boost from her ruling.