Seminole (Mostly) Mum About Sports Betting Relaunch in Florida Following Latest D.C. Court Ruling

On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected a request to revisit a June decision that essentially reinstated a sports betting-related compact between Florida and the state’s Seminole Tribe.

Last Updated: Sep 12, 2023 1:09 PM ET Read Time: 2 min
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The Seminole Tribe of Florida is remaining mostly quiet about a possible legal sports betting relaunch of Hard Rock Bet in the Sunshine State following another victory in court for the casino operator. 

On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected a request by two casinos for a rehearing en banc (meaning the entire court) of a June decision that essentially reinstated a 2021 gaming compact between Florida and the state’s Seminole Tribe.

That compact grants the Seminole the exclusive right to offer Florida sports betting, which the tribe had done for about a month in late 2021 using its Hard Rock Bet brand. However, a lower-court decision invalidating the gaming agreement prompted Hard Rock to shut down in Florida in December 2021.

Then, earlier this year, the D.C. appeals court reversed the lower decision, setting the stage for a possible return of legalized sports wagering to the Sunshine State via the Seminole monopoly. After Monday’s rejection, that return could be even closer, although the Seminole are holding their cards close to their chest.

“The Seminole Tribe of Florida is pleased with the denial of the request for an en banc hearing by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia,” the tribe said in a statement to Covers. 

What now?

The social media team for Hard Rock Bet was a tad more suggestive following the latest legal decision. On X, the former Twitter, the Hard Rock Bet account posted a gif of the WWE's Undertaker sitting up in a casket, ratcheting up hopes and speculation about a relaunch in Florida.

Hard Rock and its representatives did not respond to emails from Covers seeking comment on a possible return to the Sunshine State. 

On the legal side, there are a few key deadlines to keep an eye on, including a one-week window before the decision to reinstate the Florida-Seminole gaming compact could take effect. The two Florida casino owners also have 90 days to request that the U.S. Supreme Court review the matter.

Still, it is a long shot the Supreme Court will agree to a review. According to a court guide, it only grants and hears arguments for about 1% of cases filed each term. Most applications are rejected without any comment or explanation. 

“It is important to note that review in this Court by means of a writ of certiorari is not a matter of right, but of judicial discretion,” the guide notes. “The primary concern of the Supreme Court is not to correct errors in lower court decisions, but to decide cases presenting issues of importance beyond the particular facts and parties involved.”

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