In an unexpected twist, a federal panel of judges overturned a lower court ruling that prohibited tribal casinos from hosting online sports betting in Florida.
If and when Florida online sports betting is back up and running, bettors in Georgia could take a quick jaunt to The Sunshine State to place wagers on their favorite sports.
In lieu of legislation being passed legalizing Georgia sports betting, this could be an option for Georgians looking to place legal and regulated wagers on sports.
Federal appeals court overturned lower judge’s ruling
In May 2021, a gaming compact between Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida was agreed upon. That deal allowed digital sports betting in all of Florida. Each bet just had to be processed through servers on Seminole land.
By November of the same year, that compact was nullified by a US District Court for the District of Columbia. Mobile sportsbooks were active in Florida for 34 days before being forced to shut down.
After nearly two years of court battles, that ruling was overturned by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals. They ruled that the Seminole Tribe has the right to offer online sportsbooks. This decision is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court, which could force sportsbooks to remain in a holding pattern. Regardless, there is no denying the importance of this new ruling.
The outcome of this case and a potential Supreme Court appeal are being watched closely by other tribes across the country. Their right to host sportsbooks could ride on the outcome of this court battle.
When will Georgia pass sports betting legislation?
There is a two-party battle in the Georgia Legislature that has slowed the passing of all bills. Despite that, there will likely be another push to bring sports wagering to The Peach State in 2024.
The Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Falcons professional sports teams in Georgia have been in support of legalized sports betting. There are no tribal nor state-recognized casinos in Georgia. Legalizing wagering of any kind would be adding an entirely new market to the state.
Georgians could soon hop across the border to place bets
The future of Georgia sports betting is still fuzzy. The 2023 sports betting bill died in the Senate, and a heavily amended version of that bill also flamed out.
Florida being allowed to bring back online sports betting would open an avenue for Georgia bettors to access a sports betting market despite no legal options in their state.
Due to the “hub-and-spoke” approach of the tribal gaming compact between Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, anyone inside state lines who is of age will be able to place wagers.
Crossing state lines to place bets is far from ideal, but it is a new option for residents in search of one.