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Does Online Gambling Occur On Devices Or On Tribal Servers?

The state of Florida entered into a gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida in 2021 that included allowances for sports betting to occur on tribal lands.

Under this compact, the Seminole Hard Rock Sportsbook was permitted to accept wagers online and via a mobile sports betting app. The basis of this operation was due to a legal technicality where the sportsbook server was located on Seminole lands, thus, the bet was placed there as well.

In-person, online, and mobile sportsbooks were open in FL for only a few weeks in late 2021 before they were shuttered due to a legal challenge.

The legality of mobile and online sports gambling under the compact’s language was contested in court by West Flagler Associates, owners of a poker room and a casino in south FL.

WFA claims that the wagers are being placed on mobile devices or personal computers around the state and not on servers located on Seminole lands. After winning in a lower court, the US District Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. overturned the decision and sided with the Seminoles on June 30th of this year.

Today was the deadline for filing a request for a rehearing. If West Flagler Associates’ request is granted, a rehearing and review will be granted by a majority of judges on the roster.

A response to the rehearing request is expected soon due to the high-profile nature of the case.

What Happens Next

If the appeal is denied, WFA can then file the case with the United States Supreme Court for a final decision. This is important because the outcome will have a resounding impact on gaming around the United States.

If gambling is occurring on the server, then that opens the door for tribes around the country to expand the parameters of their gaming compacts to include mobile and online betting.

There is also the potential for online casinos to become a reality domestically if the actual gambling happens where the server is located from a legal standpoint.

The ramifications of the SCOTUS decision on Florida sports betting could have a massive impact on domestic online gambling as a whole in the United States.

The sportsbooks that we recommend here at USGO operate offshore in other countries where online gambling is legal. When using an international betting site, the wager is technically being placed on servers located within that gaming district.

That’s the workaround these overseas casino sites operate under in order to accept members inside the United States and allow them to wager on sports and gamble on real money games online.

Regardless of what the outcome of the Florida sports betting case is, the venues included in our online gambling site reviews will continue to serve the Sunshine State and any other territory they care to do business with.

CBS News 4 Miami