Florida’s Seminole Gaming Compact was effectively overturned last week by a federal judge. On Monday, US District Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled in favor of the state’s pari-mutuel gaming facilities, ordering the suspension of all Florida sports betting operations.
Florida Betting Privileges Revoked
Friedrich’s verdict has sent state lawmakers and officials into a panic, scrambling to figure out the next steps ahead. Representatives for the Seminole Tribe have already requested a stay of the ruling, but that was swiftly rejected.
On Thursday, the tribe returned to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in DC to file the paperwork necessary to bring the case to an appellate court. If the court of appeals decides to move forward with the Tribe, Friedrich’s ruling will be put on hold.
If the case gets taken to an appellate court, the Tribe may be granted authorization to revive their sportsbooks for the duration of the suit. Still, it is unclear which direction judges will take when the case is reviewed again.
State Is Quick To Act
As of last Tuesday, the tribe shut down its mobile betting operations. The Hard Rock Sportsbook was active for less than a month before it had to close its doors.
Florida has gone from being a fully-fledged sports betting state to full-on prohibition.
Google has already cast a fresh ban on all sports betting advertisements in the state. The company made the following statement on its website:
“In November 2021, the Google Ads Gambling and games policy United States country-specifics will be updated to disallow Sports Betting in Florida. We will begin enforcing the policy clarification on November 24, 2021.”
Some may think that these changes mean sports betting has been moved to Florida’s backburner, but such individuals are far from correct.
The action on Florida sports betting is only beginning. While the Seminoles fight in court for their rights to sportsbook exclusivity, external gambling groups are vying for a chance to get in on Florida’s massive betting market.
The Fight For Florida
Florida Education Champions, a lobbying group led by DraftKings and FanDuel, is currently collecting signatures for a ballot initiative in 2022. If Florida’s voting population chooses to favor the initiative, commercial sportsbooks would be granted access to set up shop in the state.
However, the state stands to lose more than they gain if such an initiative goes through. The Seminole Gaming Compact promised the state $2.5 billion over 5 years.
Florida has already lost millions in gambling revenues as a result of having violated an earlier compact in 2019.
If the US Circuit Court of Appeals in DC holds up Friedrich’s ruling, state officials will then have to resume deliberations with the Seminole Tribe for a new gaming compact. Additionally, the state will be subjected to writing a new set of gambling laws and guidelines.