Florida Online Sports Betting Re-Launches 2 Years After Shutdown

Florida Online Sports Betting Re-Launches 2 Years After Shutdown article feature image

Pictured: Graham Mertz. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

After an arduous two-year journey, online Florida sports betting has returned.

The only online book available in the state — Hard Rock, owned by the Seminole Tribe — has begun taking online bets as of Tuesday morning for select users who already had accounts on the platform.

Only those part of Hard Rock's loyalty programs who had accounts with the sportsbook in Florida from Nov. 1 to Nov. 21, 2021, are eligible to place wagers at this time.

The soft launch is perhaps the culmination of a long saga that dates back two years.

After the Hard Rock Bet sportsbook app launched on Nov. 1, 2021, users three weeks later were no longer able to place bets. That's after a lawsuit against the Seminoles' compact with the state of Florida was filed by two small casinos in order to prevent Hard Rock from entering the sports betting space with a monopoly in the state. Since then, online sports betting has been in limbo across the state.

The news of Hard Rock's soft launch on Tuesday came a week after the Seminole Tribe announced intentions to launch in-person sports betting on Dec. 7.

In October, a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a stay and permitted the Seminoles to offer sports betting.

West Flagler and Associates — the aforementioned group involving the two small casinos that started this litigation process two years ago — has until Nov. 20 to appeal its case. That appeal process still has the opportunity to bog down legal online sports betting in the state — but the momentum, buoyed by the U.S. Supreme Court, is real and palpable.

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