The Seminole Tribe surprised the gambling industry by launching its mobile sports betting app in Florida on Tuesday, December 7th. The re-launch occurred despite ongoing lawsuits challenging the practice and the gaming compact between the tribe and the state.
The app’s re-launch was confirmed in a statement from Gary Bitner, a spokesperson for the tribe. They stated that the Seminole Tribe is offering limited access to existing Florida customers to test its Hard Rock Bet platform. The statement did not specify how many customers currently have access, and the spokesperson declined to comment on when the app will fully launch to all customers.
The online launch comes just a week after the tribe announced the return of in-person sports betting at all South Florida locations. The re-launch was not publicly announced, raising questions about the tribe’s strategy regarding the ongoing legal challenges.
Two lawsuits filed against the Seminole Tribe are challenging the gaming compact and mobile sports betting specifically. One lawsuit argues that mobile sports betting defies the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, while the other contends that the law defies an amendment requiring voter approval for gambling expansion. Despite these legal hurdles, the Seminoles took the risk of re-launching their app to potentially capture hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.
While the Seminoles may face legal obstacles in the future, gambling expert Bob Jarvis believes the tribe will likely win both cases. However, he expressed surprise at the tribe’s decision to re-launch mobile sports betting, as it could be perceived as a slap in the face to the judges and justices who have not yet ruled on the matters.
The re-launch of the app has sparked speculation about the tribe’s motives and business strategy. It is unclear whether the Seminoles’ decision to proceed with the app’s launch is due to strategic planning or a desire to capitalize on potential revenue. The ongoing legal battles and uncertainty surrounding the app’s future have added to the complexity of the situation.
As the re-launch of the app unfolds, it is evident that both the Seminole Tribe and the state of Florida are navigating a complex and contentious legal landscape. The outcome of the lawsuits will ultimately determine the future of mobile sports betting in Florida, and the Seminoles’ decision to proceed with the app’s launch despite the legal challenges underscores the high stakes and financial incentives involved.