Florida Panthers Add State’s Only Legal Sportsbook as Official Betting Partner

On Tuesday, the Florida Panthers became the state’s first professional sports team to add an official sports betting partner. They allied with the only legal option, Hard Rock Bet, which monopolizes sports betting in Florida through the Seminole Tribe’s 30-year compact with the state.

The announced “multi-year” pact will allow for Hard Rock Digital signage around Amerant Bank Arena and Panthers branding on the Hard Rock Bet app.

“We are thrilled to enter into an exciting new partnership with Hard Rock Bet,” Florida Panthers Chief Revenue Officer Shawn Thornton said in a release. “Through this partnership, we will increase fan engagement and excitement around the game of hockey in South Florida and beyond by adding an entirely new element to the game.”

The Hard Rock Bet deal will become apparent to Panthers fans tonight when the Ottawa Senators visit Amerant Arena. On-site activations will include “digitally enhanced dasher boards, marquee signage, and digital branding,” according to a release.

The depth of the activation is expected to increase next season.

“We’re excited to join Panthers Territory and partner with the club to bring hockey fans closer to the action,” Nick Menas, Hard Rock Digital’s Managing Director, Corporate Strategy said in a release. “With thousands of bets available on sports from around the world and live streaming of NHL games nightly on the Hard Rock Bet app, we’re thrilled to entertain hockey fans like no one else can.”

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Florida Pro Teams Slow to Add Sportsbook Partnership

None of the other professional teams in Florida, be it in Tampa Bay, Miami, or Orlando, have sponsorships with sports betting partners. Taking on one that can’t accept bets in Florida wouldn’t figure to be financially beneficial to any other parties. However, national brands are frequently advertised or visible as signage near the playing surface during national telecasts.

The Heat has a free-to-play partnership with online gambling provider Betway, and the Marlins have had two DFS deals collapse.

The Dolphins play in Hard Rock Stadium, which doesn’t entail a sports betting partnership.

However, legal sports betting became available in all venues through Hard Rock Bet last fall when it resumed after a two-year legal battle. The compact regulating sports betting in Florida remains contentious as it allows for the Seminole Tribe to conduct mobile sports betting off tribal lands. The compact is still being litigated at the United States Supreme Court.

The Panthers became the 19th NHL team with an official sports betting partner.

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About the Author
Brant James

Brant James

Senior Writer
Brant James is a senior writer who covers the sports betting industry and legislation at Gaming Today. An alum of the Tampa Bay Times, ESPN.com, espnW, SI.com, and USA Today, he's covered motorsports and the NHL as beats. He also once made a tail-hook landing on an aircraft carrier with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and rode to the top of Mt. Washington with Travis Pastrana. John Tortorella has yelled at him numerous times.

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