Florida Legal Betting Situation Getting More Complicated

A general view of Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Florida. Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images/AFP

The past week has been tumultuous for those involved in the would-be Florida legal sports betting market. There is no simple answer to the question; what’s going on? From the judge’s ruling against the Seminole tribe and Florida Governor Rick DeSantis to the tribe continuing to take bets and everything in between.

Seminoles Will Continue to Fight

Even though a U.S District Court judge suspended the compact between the Seminole Tribe and the state of Florida, that is far from how this story ends. The tribe has filed an appeal which was to be expected considering what they stand to lose. That could be why despite the ruling, the Seminoles continue to offer online wagering via their Hard Rock platform.

The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Zak Bennett /AFP

This is despite the fact that the Florida court of appeals issued a schedule for filings in the case that was brought by two parimutuels against the U.S Department of the Interior. The appeals are different in the sense that they are assigned to a three-judge panel. It seems like for now, the federal government is ok with the Seminoles continuing to offer online wagering.

Compact Was Full of Controversy from Day One

This latest chapter in the Florida sports betting landscape was probably the most predictable one. From the moment the pact was announced, there have been various entities looking to challenge its legality. Even while approving the compact during a special session back in May, legislators said that they expected the ruling to be challenged. The reason they could be so certain of this is the fact that the compact virtually gives the Seminoles a monopoly on the sports betting market.

A general view of the Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Florida. Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images/AFP

Under the compact, any wager made in the state of Florida must go through a Seminole server which is located on tribal lands. There is nowhere else in the country that has a similar model so the opposition to it is understandable. If the Seminoles make money from every bet made in the state, that is as close to a monopoly as it gets. As a result, since the compact was originally approved, there have been three lawsuits filed against the tribe.

Dark Side Emerging After Judge’s Ruling

It’s clear that the tribe means business when it comes to launching their legal sports betting market. How far they are willing to go is anyone’s guess. That said, there are stories beginning to emerge out of Florida that would suggest that they are willing to go to great lengths to achieve their goal. A story broke this week that the tribe might be using what many would consider questionable tactics in order to stop their competitors.

FanDuel and DraftKings have been at the forefront of an initiative to allow mobile wagering that would not have to flow through the servers owned and operated on Seminole land. They have been gathering signatures which is a requirement but it seems like the tribe has other ideas.

Signage at the DraftKings Sportsbook. Scott Eisen/Getty Images for DraftKings/AFP

According to reports, it appears that the tribe is being accused of paying off signature gatherers in an effort to slow down the initiative. Other reports suggest that some employees of the tribe have also been harassing those that are looking to get this initiative off the ground.

Players across the country that don’t yet have access to legalized sports betting via mobile, can go to Odds Trader once this changes. OddsTrader currently offers betting odds comparison in Illinois, Colorado, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan, Virginia, Iowa, and West Virginia.

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