The Seminole Tribe of Florida shut down its online sports betting app Saturday because they are only allowed to offer sports gambling on site of their reservation.
So suddenly a federal judge halted the massive expansion of gambling throughout Florida to the chagrin of thousands of mobile betters.
To the shock of gamblers, a message was suddenly displayed on the Seminole sports betting app stating that it will temporarily suspend operations in Florida.
One gambler tells 850WFTL News that because of the suspension of the app, he personally lost more than $10,000 in potential winnings from betting on the college conference title games.
A spokesperson for the tribe said account balances will be refunded as requested and that it looks forward to defending the validity of their agreement with the state in court.
The lower court’s decision, which came late last month, also blocks the tribe from adding roulette and craps to its Florida casinos.
The Seminoles have temporarily stopped taking bets on its Hard Rock Sportsbook app because the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected its request to allow the wagering to continue through the appeals process.
The ruling upholds a lower court’s decision to block the Seminoles online sports betting because it violates a federal rule requiring a person to be “physically on tribal land when wagering.”
The Seminoles’ counsel argued that the servers were “on their tribal reservation property, but that argument was rejected by the court.
The lawsuit, which was filed by casino owners not affiliated with the tribe in Florida, challenged the approval of the deal by the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees tribal gambling operations.
The agreement had made Florida the latest state to legalize sports gambling since a 2018 Supreme Court ruling.
Gov. Ron DeSantis made a compact with the tribe earlier this year financially benefits they state with a windfall of $20 billion over the next 30 years.
Seminole Tribe full statement from Spokesperson Gary Bitner:
“As a result of yesterday’s Appeals Court decision denying a temporary stay of the District Court’s decision on the 2021 Compact, Hard Rock Sportsbook will temporarily suspend operations of its mobile app in Florida. Account balances for all current players will be refunded as requested. Despite the decision, the Seminole Tribe looks forward to working with the State of Florida and the U.S. Department of Justice to aggressively defend the validity of the 2021 Compact before the Appeals Court, which has yet to rule on the merits of the 2021 Compact. The Seminole Tribe of Florida, the State of Florida and the United States have all taken the position that the 2021 Compact is legal.
The Seminole Tribe’s Hard Rock Sportsbook is immediately suspending its Florida operation as a result of an appellate court ruling that rejected its request to continue online sports betting as it pursues an appeal of a lower court decision. https://t.co/drIjQ4vSiR
— Miami Herald (@MiamiHerald) December 5, 2021