The Seminole Tribe of Florida closed its online sports betting app on Saturday after suffering its final legal defeat in a case that halted a massive expansion of gambling across Florida.
The tribe said it will temporarily stop accepting bets on its Hard Rock Sportsbook app in response to a federal appeals court ruling denying its motion to continue betting while pursuing an appeal.
The District of Columbia Circuit’s U.S. Court of Appeal ruling on Friday follows a lower court decision to block an agreement between Florida and the Seminoles to allow online sports betting for violating a federal rule that mandates that itself a person physically resides on tribal land when betting. The lawsuit, filed by non-Indian casino owners in Florida, challenged the approval of the deal by the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees tribal gambling operations.
The suspension of the betting app comes a little over a month after it started taking bets and is now displaying a message to customers that operations in Florida are being temporarily suspended. A tribe spokesman said account balances are being refunded as requested and they look forward to taking the validity of their agreement with the state to court.
The deal made Florida the last state to legalize sports betting since a 2018 Supreme Court ruling. About half of the states and the District of Columbia have legalized sports betting in some form.
The lower court ruling late last month also prevents the tribe from adding roulette and craps to its Florida casinos.
Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis had worked out the pact with the tribe earlier this year, and the state was poised to receive $ 20 billion over the next 30 years.