Florida Seminole Tribe inks pari-mutuel deals to launch Hard Rock betting app

The Seminole Tribe of Florida has entered into marketing agreements with five pari-mutuel operators ahead of the upcoming launch of legal online sports betting in Florida.

The new partnership comes as the courts in the state are considering legal challenges that could delay the launch of sports betting. Despite this, the Seminole Tribe is pushing forward with its sports betting plans.

The Seminole Tribe’s partners

On Thursday, the tribe announced it had inked agreements with five pari-mutuel wagering partners that will market the Hard Rock Sportsbook mobile betting app.

The Tribe’s five partners include: 

  • Hialeah Park Casino
  • Ocala Gainesville Poker
  • Palm Beach Kennel Club
  • Tampa Bay Downs
  • TGT Poker & Racebook

The pari-mutuels will market the sportsbook at their facilities and to their customers and in return earn 60% of the profits that are generated from their marketing efforts. 

Additional marketing agreements with Florida pari-mutuels are expected to be announced soon.

Governor Ron DeSantis said: “Not only will this compact bring a guaranteed $2.5 billion 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. 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.”

Jim Allen, CEO of Seminole Gaming and Chairman of Hard Rock International, which is owned by the Seminole Tribe said: “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.

“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.”

The Seminole Tribe was not required to agree on any partnerships with other entities when it came to sports betting. 

The updated gaming compact between the Tribe and state called for a minimum of three partnerships to be signed, but only if the tribe wanted to keep their tax rate from rising.

Now, with the partnerships in place, the tribe will pay a 13.75% tax on sports wagering revenue.

When will sports betting launch?

It is still not clear when sports betting in Florida will go live. Under the revised compact, sports betting could have launched on 15 October, but this was derailed by lawsuits in the state.

Lawsuits from West Flagler Associates, another pari-mutuel owner, played a significant part in this. The pari-mutuel owner still has DC-filed litigation active, despite its Florida-filed lawsuit being dismissed.

The most recent announcement did not grant any clarity on the launch of Florida sports betting. The only detail about the app and retail sportsbooks at Seminole Hard Rock casinos in Tampa and Hollywood are that they are being prepared for launch.

DraftKings and FanDuel also launched their own ballot initiative for sports wagering back in June, but it has not raised much cash since its first financial filing. If the initiative qualifies, it would need 60% approval to pass.