Limited access for the moment

In a surprise to sports fans in Florida, Hard Rock Bet has gone live with a limited, early access launch. Just last week, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which owns Hard Rock Bet, announced that retail sports betting was finally coming in December, but was mum about online betting. Tuesday morning, though, it posted this to announce the launch of Hard Rock Bet:

It is the first time since November 2021 that Hard Rock Bet has been live.

The service is not open to everyone in Florida just yet. Right now, it is available only to certain groups, mainly those who have been loyal to Hard Rock in Florida. Anyone who bet on sports for the few weeks Hard Rock Bet was available two years ago has full access and can go ahead and bet away.

Those who joined the Unity by Hard Rock loyalty program before November 6 can also sign up for Hard Rock Bet and place wagers. Anyone who signed up for Unity by Hard Rock after November 6 (so…today through whenever you are reading this) can still gain access to Hard Rock Bet. What they need to do earn at least one Unity point by playing live casino games at a Hard Rock casino in Florida, then download the app and get going.

Everyone else will have to wait. Some will still be able to get early access by enrolling in the Unity program and earning at least one point at a brick-and-mortar casino. They can then sign up for Hard Rock Bet and get on the waiting list.

Legal battles appear to be over

As mentioned, Hard Rock Bet was live for a short time two years ago after the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the state entered into a compact that gave the tribe exclusive control of sports betting in Florida. Competitors sued, saying that the tribe’s “hub and spoke” model of having servers on tribal land, but bettors all of the state violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). The Seminole Tribe argued that because the servers were on sovereign land, that’s where the betting was actually taking place, so it was legal.

For the last two years, there have been legal battles and in the meantime, Hard Rock Bet has not been allowed to operate. In late October, though, the US Supreme Court rejected an emergency motion to block the compact, setting the stage for today’s Hard Rock Bet launch. Retail sports betting, along with craps and roulette, will come to the Seminole’s retail casinos starting a month from today.

With the Hard Rock Bet launch, Florida is now the most populous state in the US with legal sports betting.

Image credit: / Boston Public Library

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