What Florida’s New Betting Ruling Means for Players
By Space Coast Daily // November 3, 2023
On Wednesday, 1 November, the US Supreme Court issued a ruling reaffirming the appeal court’s verdict on the long-standing gambling deal lawsuit against the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
Chief Justice John Roberts had placed a temporary hold on the lawsuit regarding the gambling deal between the tribe and the state in 2021. However, on Wednesday, the temporary hold was lifted by the court, giving the Seminole tribe the go-ahead to commence gambling activities within the state.
According to the Seminole Tribe of Florida, sports betting will resume in the state at physical locations in Hollywood and Coconut Creek on Dec 7 and other locations on December 8.
Reacting to the ruling on Wednesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said, “The Seminole Tribe of Florida’s new initiative will create jobs, increase tourism, and provide billions in added revenue for our state.”
And while that is true and something to be happy about, the concerns of players in Florida lean towards the gaming side of things.
Florida’s Online Sports Betting Legal Disputes
If not for minor complications raised by other betting operators in Florida, the Seminole Tribe would have been operating online sports betting in the state for over two years now.
The complication here is that the gaming compact between the government and the Seminole Tribe violates federal gaming laws because mobile sports betting could happen outside tribal lands. The plaintiffs are leveraging the fact that mobile devices give you borderless access. Although the Supreme Court had only removed the temporary stay on the lawsuit, the plaintiffs still maintain their stance, and there are multiple facts to be debated in the courts.
But for now:
What does this mean for online gambling in the state?
Online gambling was never legal in Florida.
However, the gaming compact between the Seminole Tribe and the Florida State Government included a deal that authorized the tribe to offer online sports betting throughout the state. The tribe even launched online sports betting operations that saw players placing sports bets in droves briefly after closing the deal in 2021. However, they quickly shut down amidst lawsuits filed by other casino operators, including the West Flagler Associates and the Bonita Springs Poker Room.
After waiting two years, sports fans and game enthusiasts in the state might have to wait a little longer. For one reason, the statement released by the tribe regarding the commencement of their operations doesn’t specify the commencement of online gambling activities.
Expert opinions have it that this delay stems from the fact the above-named plaintiffs are not resting on the oars, as more litigation still lies ahead for the tribe.
How Can Players Bet in Florida?
So, with everything still up in the air, how can players bet in Florida?
One popular option is to visit online casinos and sportsbooks based elsewhere. Offshore and crypto casinos remain a viable option until local options are available, with many Floridians already making the most of these. Offshore sites are generally licenced from Curacao or Malta, giving them permission to accept players from the US, in many cases. Crypto casinos where players can play bitcoin roulette, blackjack, slots, and others, are also popular in Florida. As crypto gambling doesn’t require the same regulations as fiat currency gambling, these sites are also generally able to offer their services in locations where online gambling isn’t yet allowed, including Florida.
The in-person answer to that question has been answered in the tribe’s release. Players in Florida can only place their bets by visiting the in-person retail casinos at any of the three casinos at Hollywood and Coconut Creek on December 7. On December 8, the tribe also plans to announce other locations. They’ll have access to placing bets on sports like the NFL, NBA, MMA, horse racing, and countless others.
However, should the Seminole Tribe of Florida decide to re-launch its online sports betting activities, players must select a sportsbook first. They’ll then have to provide their details during the registration process. The other steps associated with placing bets will follow as they must deposit betting funds, select bet types, make predictions, and ultimately cash out on any winnings.
Sports betting in Florida is now closer than ever. It is technically legal in the state following the court’s ruling. However, this might not be a player’s reality in the state until the necessary services become available.
For now, bettors will have to visit the in-person retail casinos starting in various locations shortly, as announced by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, or place their bets via offshore and cryptocurrency platforms.