Nov 16, 2019; Columbia, MO, USA; A general view of a Florida Gators helmet during the second half  against the Missouri Tigers at Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Court halts online sports betting in Florida

Online sports betting may have to come to an immediate halt in Florida following a federal court ruling that came down on Monday.

On Monday a ruling from federal Judge Dabney Friedrich is West Flagler Associates vs. Haaland found that the compact signed between the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe was not valid and has been vacated. Pending an appeal and a possible stay of the order online sports betting in Florida will need to stop.

[ See more Florida sports betting legalization news ]

In the court case pari-mutuel operators in Florida argued that the compact signed by the state and the Seminole Tribe, despite being approved by the Department of Interior earlier this year, violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Under the Act allow gambling in the state of Florida must take place on tribal lands when authorized by state compacts. Online spots betting in the state was supposed to be allowed statewide as stated in the compact signed by the state and the Seminole Tribe, because all wagers take place via servers that are located on tribal land. Friedrich disagreed with this reasoning.

In his ruling Friedrich said, “it is well-settled that IGRA authorizes sports betting only on Indian lands…. It is equally clear that the Secretary must reject compacts that violate IGRA’s terms.”

Friedrich’s decision is to set aside the Department of Interior’s approval of the compact. In doing so the compact is no longer law in the state.

What’s next for sports betting in Florida remains unclear. The ruling will most definitely be appealed by the Department of the Interior which could also ask for a stay of Friedrich’s ruling until their appeal can be heard. Should this stay be asked for and granted online sports betting would again be legal in the state for the time being.

Prior to the ruling the only mobile app accepting online sports bet in the state was the Hard Rock Sportsbook app. At the time of publication, the app was still active and accepting bets and Hard Rock had not announced their future plans following the Judge’s decision.