Seminole Tribe suspends Florida sports betting app

sports book seminoles
The app will no longer any new bets, accounts or deposits as a result of a Friday court ruling. 

The Seminole Tribe has suspended operations of its new Hard Rock Sportsbook mobile app — Florida’s first legal online sports betting platform.

In a statement released Saturday morning, the Tribe’s spokesperson confirmed the temporary suspension of the gamblinging app, which will no longer any new bets, accounts or deposits from Floridians as a result of an appellate court ruling made Friday.

“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,” Gary Bitner, spokesperson for the Seminole Tribe, said in a statement. “Account balances for all current players will be refunded as requested.”

On Friday, an appeals court denied the Tribe’s emergency motion for a stay pending appeal in the sports betting case.

That came a week after a federal judge in Washington threw out the entirety of the 2021 Gaming Compact between Florida and the Seminole Tribe, an unexpected move that brought the Tribe’s sportsbook operation to a halt. The compact effectively legalized sports betting in Florida both through casinos and online, run by the Seminole Tribe, and the deal allowed for new casinos to be built.

Bitner added that the Tribe will continue to work to appeal the ruling.

“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,” Bitner said in a statement. “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 Tribe is also facing a lawsuit from Las Vegas Sands, which accuses the Tribe of “tortious interference with business relationships,” including paying off petition gatherers who are part of the casino company’s gaming amendment campaign.

Sen. Jeff Brandes called for an investigation into the Seminole Tribe and its vendors on Friday after accusations it is trying to strongarm its way to blocking rival constitutional amendments. He issued his call after reports that the Tribe and its allies were paying operatives to bully, intimidate and harass Florida voters in an attempt to stymie ballot initiatives against gaming expansion. POLITICO first reported the “gaming turf war” on Monday.

Christina Pushaw, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ spokesperson, said the Governor’s office is “… reviewing the Court’s perplexing ruling, which certainly contains appealable issues. Because neither the Seminole Tribe nor the State of Florida are parties to the case, it is unclear what if any immediate impact the ruling has in Florida. We look forward to working with the Tribe to ensure the future success of the Compact. We are of the position that the Compact is legal, and we are subject to no court order applicable to the state of Florida at this time.”

She continued, “I also want to highlight that the Seminole Tribe spokesperson said on Saturday: ‘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.”

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected]



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