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Hard Rock Sportsbook Goes Offline Following Court Ruling

The Seminole Tribe in Florida shut down its Hard Rock Sportsbook. This is after a court ruling stating the operator was in breach of the law for offering sports betting. The ruling comes after Tribe’s motion to push for sports betting in the Sunshine state was turned down in November.

Seminole Shuts Down its Florida Sportsbook App 

The past weekend saw Seminole Tribe suspend online sports betting on its Hard Rock Sportsbook app. This was after the operator suffered a damaging court ruling stating the compact for sports betting in the state was invalid. ‘

The Seminole Tribe recently launched the Hard Rock Sportsbook in the state in early November 2021. But after the court ruling, the operator posted a statement on its Twitter handle saying it has temporarily halted operations. 

The statement also thanked players for participating in its early launch. While confirming the suspension of its operations in Florida including account deposits and accepting new bets, the operator said it remains committed to creating the best sports betting environment in the Sunshine State. 

The operator went to state they are in the process of working out things. And they’ll be back in the future. Also included in the statement was the state of bets placed on events after Saturday at 11 a.m. The operator said those bets including futures were voided. But players can still access the app to withdraw any funds still left in their accounts. 

The Events Leading to the Suspension

A court in the District of Columbia is the reason for the suspension of operations of the Hard Rock Sportsbook in Florida. The ruling found the operator’s compact with the state breached the IGRA (Indian Gaming Regulatory Act). This then voided the agreement to offer sports betting. 

Florida and the Seminole Tribe agreed to the compact in April 2021. It was later signed by Governor Ron DeSantis in May. What the compact meant was that Seminoles had access to exclusive rights over in-person and online sports wagering in the state. 

Secretary Deb Haaland who is the head of the Interior Department greenlighted the compact’s journey to becoming law earlier in the year. But the journey wasn’t without several challenges. Multiple parties in Florida such as Bonita-Fort Myers Corporation and West Flagler Associates lodged cases in the District of Columbia District Court. 

Hard Rock Sportsbook Goes Offline Following Court Ruling

The signed compact allowed the Seminoles to offer online sports wagering on tribal lands. This activity would be through servers on tribal property, which is more of betting on tribal lands. But the state’s constitution demands a referendum to legalize gambling off of tribal lands.

The presiding Judge Dabney Friedrich termed the move a violation of the IGRA. This was followed by orders of suspending sports wagering operations. The ruling further stated the compact sought to offer sports betting on and off Indian lands. 

But the Seminole Tribe tried to hit back by requesting temporary stay orders, which was turned down by the judge. 

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Nerijus Grenda
Nerijus Grenda
Published: 29 Dec 2021
Updated: 14 Mar 2023
Nerijus Grenda is a prolific contributor to the GoodLuckMate site. With a deep understanding of the online casino industry, gained from his own experience as an avid player, he offers valuable insights on what sets the best casinos apart from the rest. As a writer, Nerijus shares his expertise through expert analysis and thoughtful commentary on various topics related to online gambling, including casino reviews, game guides and industry trends.

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