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Sports Betting Gets Unavailable in Florida After Hard Rock SportsBook Ceases Operations “Temporarily”

Florida residents are once again unable to place wagers on sports, as the Seminole Tribe suspended its online sports betting app on December 4th, following the decision of a Federal Court of Appeals to reject its emergency motion of stay.

The spokesman of the Tribe, Gary Bitner, officially confirmed that the Hard Rock SportsBook mobile application would suspend its operations “temporarily” as of December 4th after the court announced its decision on the previous day. Following the suspension, an error message appeared whenever Florida users have tried to place sports bets. At the time when he confirmed that the Hard Rock SportsBook app was no longer available to state residents, Mr. Bitner also said that punters would have their account balances “refunded as requested“.

He, however, insisted on the information that the suspension was only temporary and it would not put an end to the Seminole Tribe’s sports betting operations in Florida. Mr. Bitner shared that the Native American nation remained committed to offering sports betting services in the state and would continue to work to make that possible.

The Hard Rock SportsBook application informed its users that any wagers placed for events starting before 11:00 AM ET on December 4th were permitted to run and settle. However, any wagers placed for events starting after 11:00 AM were called void, so punters would not be able to gamble on them.

Seminole Tribe of Florida Gets Its Emergency Motion for a Stay Denied

Sports betting was officially brought to the state of Florida after the Seminole Tribe and Governor Ron DeSantis reached an agreement on the Native American nation’s new 30-year gaming compact this spring. Then, in May, the deal that provided the Seminole Tribe to run all of the sports betting services in the state through computer servers situated on its reservation land got authorized by the local Legislature.

As CasinoGamesPro previously reported, the Seminole Tribe was to pay more than $2.5 billion to the state in the first 5 years of the deal. The Tribe revealed that it has already paid $75 million to the state since October.

After two pari-mutuel venues in Florida alleged that the new compact between the state and the Seminole Tribe violated federal law and claimed that the deal would have a massive negative effect on their businesses, the 30-year agreement was invalidated by US District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich on November 22nd. That was the decision that led to effectively make sports betting once again unavailable in the state of Florida.

As CasinoGamesPro reported last week, an emergency motion for a stay was filed by the Tribe, as the Seminoles tried to keep their sports betting operations up and running during the appeal, but the motion got denied by a 3-judge panel of the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Although things do not seem very glamorous for the Seminole Tribe, it may not be all bad. At the time when Judge Friedrich invalidated the Native American nation’s gambling deal, making it unavailable to offer any sports betting services, she still noted that it could make a new one in line with federal laws that would allow it to accept sports bets on reservation land only.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.