A decision will not be made on legal sports betting in Florida until at least 2023 now that the United States Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. has issued a briefing schedule that will tie up proceedings for the remainder of the year.
The docket mentions an oral argument date as well as the formation of a merit panel which could extend the case into the second quarter of 2023.
The D.C. Circuit has announced the following briefing schedule in the Florida tribal compact sports betting case:
8/17 – Appellants' Opening Briefs
10/6 – West Flagler Response
11/14 – Appellants' Reply Brief
+ oral argument will be held (TBA).
No decision until 2023. pic.twitter.com/nO1LUdevfQ
— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) July 11, 2022
The Seminole Tribe of Florida, the tribal entity that will hold a monopoly on Florida sports betting if the current gaming compact holds, is battling the US Department of the Interior over whether the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) is being violated by offering online sports betting.
The Sunshine State’s Hard Rock Casino locations began allowing sports betting in Miami and Tampa last summer once the current gaming compact received approval after the requisite 45 days passed without a response from the federal government.
Sports betting apps were soon made available to Apple and Android smartphones and tablets in Florida once the Seminole Tribe of Florida unleashed their Hard Rock mobile sportsbook to 21+ on-the-go gamblers.
In November of 2021, both in-person and online sports betting operations inside Florida were shuttered following a ruling from the US District Court that stated online sports betting in its current form is a violation of the IGRA.
The Hard Rock Sportsbook website, which touted Florida as coming soon for months prior to the debut of the sports betting application, no longer lists FL among the states that they offer their services to.
Even though the challenge is focused on the legality of betting on sports online in FL, in-person options are also off the table until all hearings are wrapped up in 2023 – hopefully.
The latest docket schedule from D.C.’s U.S.D.C. puts Florida on a timeline where there is little chance that online or in-person domestic sportsbooks will be accepting wagers by February 12, 2023, the date of Super Bowl LVII.
When Will Online Sports Betting Become Legal In Florida?
The best-case scenario for placing Florida online sports betting on the fast track is a successful resolution of the appeal in favor of the Seminole Tribe.
Otherwise, Floridians will be without domestic online sportsbooks unless a voter initiative is passed that supports it. A similar effort was attempted in 2022 but the requisite signatures were not collected despite a sustained bombardment of junk mail from domestic vendors eager to gain a piece of Florida’s massive revenue potential.
However, if the feds rule that the Seminoles are not allowed to host online sports betting, perhaps the citizens of FL will have a change of heart in regard to other domestic operators coming in and setting up shop.
Exclusive Market For Offshore Sportsbook Sites
Either way, offshore sports betting sites will continue to reign supreme in Florida while the legalities are sorted out in court. Countless billions of dollars will flow to offshore sportsbooks because 18 and over gamblers inside FL are not at any legal risk when they do so.
There are no laws that prohibit overseas sports gambling sites from accepting Florida-based members and allowing them to wager on pro and college games online, and they will continue to operate unchecked until the USDC renders a decision in 2023 or later.