Hard Rock Moving to Plan B Due to Florida Holdup

It goes without saying, but the trouble for Florida sports betting has been incredibly frustrating for millions of people. It’s not just the citizens who are suffering right now, as the Seminole Tribe and all of the sportsbooks eyeing revenue are also up in arms. With all of the uncertainty, the Hard Rock moving to Plan B due to the Florida holdup with legal gambling shouldn’t be a surprise.

According to a report, the Hard Rock is now looking to expand its operations over in Arizona. Everyone at the company was fired up for the launch of its mobile sports app in Florida, as people wasted no time in taking advantage of things back in the fall. Bets were coming in left and right, but then the operation was shut down after the U.S. District Judge ruled against Florida sports betting.

“Hard Rock Sportsbook was extremely popular during our operations in Florida, and we’re appreciative of the overwhelming support and positive feedback we continue to receive from customers throughout the state,” executive managing director of Hard Rock Digital Matt Primeaux told SportsHandle. “Our partners at the Seminole Tribe of Florida are confident in the merits of the case.”

For Primeaux and Hard Rock as a whole, they were incredibly happy with the early success of sports betting in Florida. It provided plenty of positive feedback and sports bettors were ecstatic to check out the different sports odds, of course including wagers on the Super Bowl. However, things were shut down in the blink of an eye, which was devastating to see.

Hard Rock is still hopeful for a change in Florida down the road

Despite looking at operations being expanded to Arizona, the Hard Rock is still hopeful for a change in Florida down the road, as they’re not ready to throw in the towel just yet. Matter of fact, neither is the Seminole Tribe or governor Ron DeSantis, as they’re hopeful that the legalization for sports betting can be put into place by 2023. However, there’s still quite an uphill battle for that.

People may have to wait until 2024 for that to happen too, but the Hard Rock isn’t going to give up just yet. What stands out for the company is they were actually able to get a small taste of what legal betting in Florida would be like. This raised plenty of eyebrows, as they witnessed the popularity of legal sports betting for the people of the state. An incredible amount of money was bet on, which was awesome.

With things going through – albeit for a short amount of time – in the heart of the football season, people in Florida took full advantage of this. Major bets were placed for the NFL season, including of course the Super Bowl wagers. People were quick to take a look at the college football odds too and place bets on big teams like Alabama, Georgia, USC, Oklahoma and more. This wasn’t a surprise.

With that, though, there was also some controversy. No one has forgotten about Atlanta Falcons star Calvin Ridley placing his bets on the NFL and then the league finding out about things. With this, Ridley has been suspended for the entire 2022 season. This is a major blow for the Falcons, and it was also a terrible look for the state of Florida as well. Hard Rock wasn’t happy about this either.

What’s the next step for Florida sports betting?

Time and time again, people continue to ask themselves what’s next for Florida sports betting? This isn’t something that’s going to be answered in the near future, but lawmakers are still eyeing potential changes to come sooner than later. There are still more lawsuits that have come in against sports betting, which has all but shut the door on the Seminole Tribe moving forward with its plan.

However, this doesn’t mean that a new initiative couldn’t be presented at some point to help turn things around for the legalization of sports betting. Right now, it feels like Florida’s hands are tied a little bit, but people are ready to see if things can be shifted. Just like Texas and California, the people of Florida can’t believe they’re one of the remaining states who hasn’t adjusted with betting.

Currently, more than 30 states have legalized sports betting. They’re seeing all the advantages being brought to them. Regulated sports betting means big revenue advantages. We’ve seen this all over the United States, yet Florida can’t share that same kind of excitement. People are going to have to keep waiting, unfortunately, too.

Come 2023, we could see things come to fruition. At the same time, people might have to wait until 2024 as well. The longer these people wait, the more they’ll have to travel to nearby states to place their bets. It just doesn’t seem fair, but nothing can be done unless laws are changed and people finally wake up. Florida sports betting needs to happen and it needs to happen fast.

Chris Boline

Chris Boline is an avid sports fan and currently works within the sports industry. He has previously written for outlets covering the NBA G League, Los Angeles Chargers, Mountain West Conference football and basketball and has been a writer for over 10 years. Chris is very involved within his local community and spends his free time working with community organizations, sitting on boards, and spending time with friends and family.