Hard Rock to Pursue Online Casinos in Case of Favorable SC Decision

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Hard Rock to Pursue Online Casinos in Case of Favorable SC Decision

If the legality of its online sports betting model is confirmed by the US Supreme Court, the Seminole Tribe will likely begin to pursue Florida iCasinos.

The statement was made by Jim Allen, Hard Rock International’s chairman who is also Seminole Gaming’s chief executive officer, during the East Coast Gaming Congress held last week

Floridians Are Interested in the Idea

Allen expressed the tribe’s interest in initiating the process of adding online casinos which would, in turn, restart conversations with the Senate, House, and governor’s office

This would lead to a political procedure the tribe would need to “navigate through.” 

The CEO added that Florida polling indicates state citizens are interested in having access to online casinos. 

Two months ago, Florida parimutuel owner West Flagler sent a petition to the US Supreme Court, asking it to hear its challenge of online wagers in the state in a tribal compact under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

While the Supreme Court decided to grant an extension for the Department of Interior to answer the petition, they are expected to decide whether they will accept the case in June prior to recessing for the summer.

Not Its First Tango

The Seminole Tribe has had previous attempts to amend the compact to introduce an online casino. 

Three years ago, the tribe together with Gov. Ron DeSantis agreed to a compact that prepared the scene for upcoming talks regarding online casino.

The state of Florida and the Tribe both agreed to “engage in good-faith negotiations within 36 months after the effective date” of the compact. 

The negotiations would have been aimed at a possible amendment that would have allowed Seminole to provide all types of “covered games online or via mobile devices” to players who are physically located within the state.

House Speaker Chris Sprowls considered the possibility of the compact would have led to a backdoor expansion of online gaming, which would have been unacceptable

Because of the opposition they faced, Seminole and DeSantis decided to pull out the online gaming language from the compact on the first day of the special session held on the topic of gaming. 

This allowed the legislature to approve the compact with online sports betting but with zero mention of iCasino.

Provided the compact would have passed according to the initial terms, the tribe would have been able to start negotiations with the state regarding an online casino in 2024.

Small Changes Needed 

The Seminole compact with the state explains that online wagers take place on Indian lands, at the location of the server

Since the online sports betting model is already part of the state compact, not much would need to be added for Seminole to initiate Florida online casinos.

A definition in scope and a revenue share rate that would address online gambling should suffice, according to Allen. 

Since Florida has already ended its 2024 legislative session, it is hard to say what legislators’s stand could be on the idea of amending the compact to include online casino.

At the moment, the tribe operates an online casino platform in New Jersey via Hard Rock Bet that also provides iCasino on the same platform as online sports betting.

Recently, Hard Rock Bet announced the launch of the innovative SGP Max feature that promises a revolution in Same Game Parlay experiences.

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