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The Seminole Tribe suspends sports betting operations, Hard Rock Sportsbook app shut down

Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 6:02 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAP NEWS/WCJB) - The Seminole Tribe has suspended all sports betting through its Hard Rock Sportsbook app after a federal appellate court declined to temporarily block a lower court ruling that threw out the gaming compact approved earlier this year.

The Hard Rock Sportsbook app was up and running for only slightly more than a month before being shut down.

Seminole attorney Barry Richard told us the decision to cease operations came after the appellate court ruling.

“Out of respect for the court decision, the tribe has suspended the new operations,” said Richard.

If you have a balance remaining on the app, you can still withdraw your funds, but you cannot put more money in or place any bets.

The Tribe is not giving up its legal battle to get its $500 million a year compact with the state reinstated.

“Trial judges, even acting in the best of good faith, make legal errors, which are reversed on appeal,” said Richard. “We believe that the trial judge made a legal error here.”

However, sports betting attorney Daniel Wallach is skeptical the tribe will succeed.

“An infinitesimal likelihood of success,” said Wallach.

He argues the compact never stood a chance because it allowed for sports betting off tribal lands.

“There’s no Hail Mary play here in which to sort of engineer this federal statute to now mean that the person who’s making the bet can be located off tribal lands,” said Wallach.

Wallach also believes those who placed losing bets in the days after the November 22nd lower court ruling might have a legal argument for a refund.

“Either by making an informal request to the Hard Rock Digital Sportsbook or potentially by commencing litigation to recover those funds,” said Wallach.

It could be months before the federal appeals court issues a final ruling on the legality of the gaming compact.

So, legal sports betting is not likely to come back any time soon.

The Tribe’s attorney also told us at least for now the Tribe hasn’t stopped paying the state, but added he didn’t know how the latest ruling would impact the half a billion-dollar a year payments going forward.

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