Hard Rock Bet Could Launch in Florida as Early as September 19

Hard Rock Bet Could Launch in Florida as Early as September 19 article feature image

Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for MTV. Pictured: General view at Hard Rock Hotel.

Hard Rock Bet could go live with its sports betting platform in Florida, possibly as early as Sept. 19, after the latest twist in a winding court case.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Monday denied West Flagler and Associates’ request for an en banc rehearing of its case against the The US Department of the Interior, likely clearing the path for Hard Rock Bet to launch in Florida in the near future, according to recent reporting by Sports Handle.

As per the appellate court rules, this decision becomes effective eight days after being handed down, making Sept. 19 the earliest launch date for Hard Rock Bet's sports betting platform.

A spokesperson for the Seminole Tribe would not immediately comment on the ruling, but the tribe has been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to relaunch since it went live briefly in 2021. Hard Rock's sports betting platform was live for just over one month before being forced to shut it down due to a court order.

"West Flagler has other options," gaming consultant Brendan Bussmann of B2 Global told Sports Handle, "but I do see a path forward where Hard Rock may start taking wagers until told otherwise."

The case itself revolves around the legality of a compact signed between the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe. It hinges on whether the U.S. Department of the Interior rightfully approved the compact, which would grant the tribe a monopoly on retail and digital sports betting within the state.

Find more information on the legal U.S. sports wagering industry, legislation, business, and policy at Sports Handle.

Legal experts anticipate that West Flagler will likely take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court and request a stay to prevent the Seminole Tribe from launching their platform. There is also the possibility that Florida parimutuels could file the case in state court, seeking a stay against the Seminoles at that level.

West Flagler initially requested a rehearing on Aug. 14, with the DOI responding on Aug. 31. Typically cases involving rehearing grants have taken months for the court to respond, but Monday's ruling was quick and decisive: "Upon consideration of appellees’ petition for rehearing en banc, the response thereto, and the absence of a request by any member of the court for a vote, it is ordered that the petition be denied."

Bob Jarvis, a constitutional law professor at NOVA Southeastern, was skeptical that West Flagler would win its petition and is equally bearish on its chances of success in an appeal to the Supreme Court. Jarvis also noted that West Flagler could potentially file in Florida state court based on the 2018 Amendment 3, but he expects that challenge to be unsuccessful.

For now, the stage is set for Hard Rock Bet to potentially make its mark in the Florida sports betting landscape, pending any further legal developments.

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