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Florida’s Seminole Tribe pens pari-mutuel deals to launch Hard Rock app


The Seminole Tribe of Florida has entered into marketing agreements with five pari-mutuels ahead of the anticipated launch of legal online sports betting in the US state.

The Palm Beach Kennel Club, Hialeah Park Casino, Ocala Gainesville Poker and Ocala Breeder’s Sales Company, Tampa Bay Downs and TGT Poker & Racebook have all partnered with the Seminole Tribe to support the planned roll-out of the Hard Rock Sportsbook app.

Each of the pari-mutuels will market the sportsbook at their facilities and in return will earn 60% of the profits generated from their marketing efforts, with the tribe taking a 40% cut.

The Seminole Tribe added that additional marketing agreements with Florida pari-mutuels are expected to be announced soon.

The launch of legal mobile sports betting in Florida hinges on final legal approval for a new gaming compact that was approved by the state legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis in May.

The compact, which was also cleared by the Department of the Interior in August, would allow for online sports bets to be placed from anywhere in the state with servers located on the Seminole Tribe’s lands in a so-called “wheel-and-spoke” model.

Should the market proceed with a launch, the Seminole Tribe’s sports betting activities would focus on the Hard Rock brand. Hard Rock International is owned by the Seminole Tribe.

“Today’s announcement follows through on the Tribe’s commitment to include pari-mutuel marketing partners in Florida sports betting; they are an important component for the coming launch of sports betting throughout the state of Florida,” Seminole Tribe chief executive and Hard Rock International chairman Jim Allen said.

“We have already exceeded the Compact’s requirement for a minimum of three pari-mutuel agreements and we look forward to developing more relationships with pari-mutuels around Florida.”

Governor DeSantis also welcomed the new marketing agreements, saying they would help to deliver economic, tourism and recreation opportunities in the state.

“Not only will this compact bring a guaranteed $2.5bn in revenue over the next five years, but it also brings together Florida pari-mutuel businesses from across the state in a creative partnership with the Seminole Tribe providing increased access to safe and transparent sports betting in Florida,” DeSantis said.

“Today’s announcement is a great success for the state and the Seminole Tribe, and I look forward to the announcement of additional partnerships to come.”

The gaming compact had been looked set to pass into law, but last month a Florida-based pari-mutuel betting operator filed a suit calling for the US federal government to block online sports betting in the state.

West Flagler Associates in the US District Court of Columbia alleged that offering state-wide online sports betting through servers on tribal lands cannot be considered as betting on tribal lands.

It called for either summary judgement to dismiss the compact entirely, or – failing that – injunctive relief to temporarily block sports betting while a full trial is held.