Players can now get early access to online sports betting in Florida exclusively through Hard Rock Bet, which is operated by the Seminole tribe. Early access is available to those who bet previously with the operator and members of Hard Rock’s loyalty scheme Unity by Hard Rock who qualify.
This comes one week after the tribe announced its sports betting relaunch in Florida. On 7 December, craps, roulette and sports betting will launch at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Seminole Classic Casino in Hollywood and Seminole Casino Coconut Creek.
These will be made available at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa on 8 December.
On 11 December, Seminole Casino Immokalee and Seminole Brighton Casino will go live.
On X – formerly known as Twitter – Hard Rock Bet announced that early access is now available.
“Early access to Hard Rock Bet is now live in Florida!,” read the tweet. “Those who have bet previously with Hard Rock Bet Florida, including qualifying Unity by Hard Rock loyalty members, can bet now.”
Next step in the rollout
The Seminoles saw a glimmer of hope in its sports betting battle after the US Supreme Court rejected pari-mutuel betting operator West Flagler Associates’ motion to stay in October. Although this didn’t pave the way for the Seminoles to launch sports betting unchallenged, it gave the tribe a window to launch in – one it has taken full advantage of.
Hard Rock Bet had previously been live in Florida in 2021, after the governor, Ron DeSantis, approved a gaming compact that allowed the Seminoles to offer sports betting exclusively in Florida.
However, this was halted in December 2021 after the District of Columbia ruled that the compact violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). This came after a suit filed by West Flagler and Bonita-Fort Myers questioned whether offering sports betting through tribal-based servers was the same as betting on tribal land.
In September, West Flagler filed a legal challenge against DeSantis and the Florida state legislature. The pari-mutuel betting operator challenged whether DeSantis and the legislature had exceeded their respective authorities regarding the 2021 gaming compact approval.
West Flagler ramped up its legal challenges in August 2023, when it filed a rehearing petition for the case it lost against secretary of the interior Debra Haaland in June 2023.