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The Seminole Tribe of Florida have relaunched a limited version of its Hard Rock Bet sports betting site for existing customers, known as Early Access. 

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After years of litigation in state and federal courts, Florida residents are once again able to make legal online sports wagers. 

The site is now open to players who previously bet on Hard Rock in the one month the sportsbook was live during Autumn 2021. 

Customers who signed up to the Unity by Hard Rock loyalty scheme prior to 6 November 2023 are also able to access to the relaunched site. 

The news follows the tribe’s announcement last week that it would make retail sports betting live across their six Florida casinos. 

Today’s wagers are the first legal online sports bets placed in the Sunshine State since the Seminoles shut down the site back in December 2021.

The tribe agreed a gaming compact with the state of Florida in April of that year, granting them exclusive rights to offer state-wide online sports betting.

This was done through the so-called “hub-and-spoke” model, in which wagers placed off-reservation are still routed through servers on tribal land. 

However, a suit filed by two Florida parimutuel betting operators (West Flagler Associates and Bonita-Fort Myers Corp) which challenged the federal authorisation of the compact proved successful in December 2021, driving the site offline. 

In the suit, the operators argued the compact violated the constitution and a suite of federal laws by effectively expanding gaming beyond tribal lands. 

The government though proved successful on appeal, convincing a three-judge panel in the DC Circuit that the Department of the Interior had the authority to approve the compact.