Seminole Tribe of Florida Shuts Down iGaming Amidst Legal Battle
The Seminole Tribe of Florida has stopped its online sports betting services after a federal judge stopped its ability to expand services in the state.
After only offering online sports betting for a very short time, the Seminole Tribe of Florida has now announced its services are shut down. A federal judge had ordered the tribe to cease services despite the newly signed compact with the state a few days ago, yet the tribe kept offering online sports betting. It seems the tribe understands the legal battle its faces and has decided to back down a bit as its tries to get back in operation as quickly as possible.
Shutdown Affects Players Negatively
Players were shocked to find that the Seminole sports betting app had shut down on Saturday. The tribe posted a message on its site stating the services were temporarily suspended. Gamblers were not happy about the development with many stating they had lost potential wins due to the shutdown. The sports industry is currently offering NCAA and NFL football games, of which bettors in Florida were taking advantage of.
The tribe stated via a spokesperson that account balances will be refunded to players of the site. The tribe is also ready to defend its compact agreement with the state and plans to do so in court. The lower court ruled that the tribe is not legally allowed to offer sports betting or add craps or roulette to its casinos.
The Seminole Tribe tried to get the court to allow its Hard Rock Sportsbook app to continue offering services while the case regarding its compact is pending. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected the request. The tribe was hopeful the appeal would at least allow players to continue accessing services, but it was not to be.
Though the appeal was rejected, the tribe continued to offer its services a few days longer before shutting down on Saturday.
In a lawsuit against the tribal agreement, casino owners not affiliated with the Seminoles, claim that the deal approved by the United States Department of the Interior was not valid. They say the tribe must only offer sports betting within tribal lands. The attorneys for the tribe say that because the tribe offers services via servers located on reservation lands, then the compact is valid.
Those who are opposed say that the servers being on the tribal lands does not meet the regulations for legalized online sports betting. The tribe argues that it does. This is what is being discussed within the courts at this time.
It is unclear as to how this case will play out. So far, the tribe has not been able to see a ruling in their favor. The fact that they did not win the appeal to continue offering services, does not bode well in their favor. We shall see in the coming weeks how the tribe plans to deal with the issue and what can be done to get online sports betting operational once again.
In a statement, the tribe said that it looks forward to working with the state and US Department of Justice to defend the validity of the new compact signed this year. The Seminoles pointed out in their statement that both the state and federal government have taken the position that the compact is a legal document.
Neither side is backing down, so it will be up to the courts to decide how they should rule on the subject, be it for or against the compact.