Seminole Tribe to launch sports betting app

Photo courtesy: Seminole Hard Rock casino Hollywood

The Seminole Tribe of Florida earlier this month announced a gaming expansion in all six of its casinos. Starting Dec. 7, the Seminole casinos are launching a gambling app that includes craps, roulette and sports betting.

The app was announced a week after the United States Supreme Court blocked a multi-billion dollar agreement between the Seminole Tribe and the state of Florida.

In 2021, the tribe launched an app that would allow sports betting throughout the state. The app was shut down due to a federal lawsuit that pool betting companies filed and was upheld in a federal ruling by a three-judge panel.

The agreement was initially signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida chairman Marcellus Osceola, Jr. It  would have been a 30-year agreement.

The two pari-mutuel companies found the 2021 deal to have violated federal laws and had a “significant and potentially devastating impact” on their business.

The Florida Legislature originally approved the agreement before DeSantis signed it into law.

The app is launching again, but this time with limitations. The app will be available to those who used the app previously in 2021 or people who have points from the tribe’s loyalty program.

Gary Bitner, a spokesman for the tribe, said in an email that, “The Seminole Tribe is offering limited access to existing Florida customers to test its Hard Rock Bet platform.”

Jim Allen, the CEO of Seminole Gaming, said in a statement that the new deal will positively impact Florida. “With the expansion of the new scope, we are creating over 1,000 new jobs made possible by the compact,” he said.

Allen added, “This is a historic milestone that immediately puts Florida in the same league with the world’s great gaming destinations.”

Despite the accessibility to new users, the Hard Rock app allows incoming users to join a wait list.

To join, users must sign up for the Unity by Hard Rock at any Seminole casino and earn one plus unity points.

The games are expected to be at the Hollywood Hard Rock Casino by Dec. 7, then the Tampa Hard Rock by Dec. 8, and then the Seminole Immokalee and Seminole Brighton casinos by Dec. 11.

A legal challenge has been filed, so it is not clear if the projected dates for launching the app at the casinos will hold firm.