Legal hurdles threaten to delay Florida sports betting far past Friday launch date

When sports betting becomes legal in Florida on Friday, gamblers won’t be able to start placing wagers right away. None of the state’s casinos have announced a date when they will begin taking bets as multiple legal challenges threaten to keep gambling off the table until 2022. 

WINK-TV reported Wednesday, some clarity is likely to come on November 5 when a judge will hold a hearing for one of three lawsuits challenging the gaming contract between the state and the Seminole Tribe. It argues that the mobile betting portion of the compact violates federal law. If the judge throws out the lawsuit, legal experts said to expect the tribe to launch mobile and in-person sports gambling within the next 60 days.

"That certainly seems to be the operating assumption of what’s coming out of the Hard Rock properties, is that they’re planning to launch mobile, barring an injunction," sports betting expert and attorney John Holden told WINK.

With billions of dollars on the line and every stakeholder prepared to drag this out in court, legal experts said the lawsuits are likely a part of the reason the Seminole Tribe won’t be ready to launch Friday. However, according WINK, a spokesperson also told reporters the tribe never planned to start October 15, saying that Friday was merely the date chosen by the state legislature back in May.

PREVIOUS: Feds clear way for Florida gambling deal

What’s more, sports betters can expect appeals from commercial sites and anti-gambling groups. If a judge rules in their favor, appeals from the state and the tribe are just as likely.

"It could be late 2022 before the issue is resolved before a federal appeals court, and then at that point, the losing side will petition the United States Supreme Court to get involved in if that happens," attorney Daniel Wallach told WINK.