TAMPA, Fla. - The Hard Rock Sportsbook app shut down Saturday, more than a month after a federal court ruling deeming the Seminole Tribe's gaming compact with the state illegal. But there are still many questions about what will happen to the money that was made while the app was in operation.
An expert tells FOX 13 people who bet and lost during that time may be eligible for a refund.
Since the beginning, many called the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, or IGRA, a gamble within itself, bound to be brought down by legal challenges.
Despite pushback, Governor DeSantis made it official earlier this year. Since October, the Seminole Tribe has paid the state about $75 million.
"Presumably, the tribe would be entitled to get that money back if the entire compact is invalid. But you have to remember that the tribe and the state are working together here in lockstep in negotiating the compact. They're on the same side of the controversy," attorney Daniel Wallach said.
In a tweet sent out Saturday, the Hard Rock Sportsbook app announced the app would be shutting down.
The tweet refers to a ruling denying the tribe's motion for a stay of a judge's previous ruling deeming the compact illegal. As Wallach explains, people who placed bets and lost after the November 23 ruling may be eligible for a refund.
"There is no more authority of law under which these bets were being placed. And it sets up a really interesting dynamic whether the Seminole Tribe will either voluntarily refund monies to customers who requested or fight or resist those overtures. And it will lead to litigation," Wallach said.
At any time, the state and the tribe can choose to write up a new compact to allow for in-person betting. As for mobile sports betting, it likely won't happen for a while.
Currently, the organization Florida Education Champions is collecting signatures for a petition to add a measure to the 2022 ballot that, if passed, would legalize mobile sports betting statewide.
"With so much dissatisfaction over losing the opportunity to bet on sports after having had it for three weeks, I think there'll be much more incentive for for for Florida voters, customers, people who want to bet on sports to take advantage of this opportunity to vote in favor of it," Wallach said.
The organization Florida Education Champions still needs to collect enough signatures to have the measure added to the ballot. If it's added, it would need to pass by a 60% majority. If it does, it would open up the market to competitors like FanDuel and DraftKings.