Posted on 10 November 2023 in General
Online Sportsbetting Goes Live Again in Florida, But On a Limited Basis
On 07 November 2023 the Seminole Tribe announced it had relaunched online sportsbetting in the state. However, betting would be limited to only those customers who had previously bet with Hard Rock in 2021. The tribe did not state when betting would be made openly available.
The tribe initially launched online betting in November 2021 under a new compact enacted by State Governor Ron DeSantis. However, the compact was immediately hit with legal challenges from pari-mutuel betting operator, West Flagler Associates on the grounds that it violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and the tribe shut down their operations in December 2021.
Initially the District of Columbia District Court rejected the clause in the compact which stated that online sportsbetting was permitted anywhere in the state provided it was processed by servers located on tribal lands. The court ruled this was not the case and the legalisation of online sportsbetting in Florida is required to be approved by a state-wide referendum. However, when the Tribe appealed the ruling the Appeals court ruled in favour of their right to operate online sportsbetting across the state.
In October 2023, after almost two years of legal battles in several different courts, the US Supreme Court cleared the way for the tribe to relaunch its sportsbetting operations by rejecting a motion to stay order requested by West Flagler. The tribe relaunched limited online sportsbetting on 07 November 2023 and also announced it would launch retail sportsbetting at its casinos in the state beginning on 07 December 2023.
However, legal hurdles do remain for the tribe. In addition to the potential US Supreme Court hearing, West Flagler Associates also brought up the challenge in the Florida Supreme Court and filed a motion to suspend the tribe’s online operations. The Court has the constitutional power to issue a motion to stay whilst it considers a case and therefore could immediately put a stop to online betting yet again. If the Court decides to take up the case it could take up to three-years for it to be resolved.
We have updated our forecasts to reflect the limited relaunch of online sportsbetting on 07 November and expect this to generate c$32m of gross win by the end of the year. Whilst it is impossible to know how and when the legal situation will resolve, we have currently modelled the possibility that the Hard Rock online sportsbetting app will be opened fully to all customers again in 2025 as a placeholder. Due to this, revenue expectations for 2024 are relatively low at $268m but then increase by 105% in 2025 to c$551m to reflect the possible full launch. By 2028 we forecast the market could generate $897m in gross win. Due to the unpredictable nature of the legal challenges surrounding this market we will periodically review our forecasts and update to reflect the latest situation.