So you want to place a bet on the big game this weekend, do you? Well, if you're in Florida, you're in luck. Sports gambling was officially legalized in the Sunshine State in 2021, opening up a whole new world of possibilities for recreational bettors and sports fans alike. You can now put some skin in the game and make the action on the field even more exciting. Whether you're an NFL diehard who bleeds your team's colors or just a casual fan looking to make the Final Four more interesting, legal sportsbooks and mobile betting apps now make it easier than ever to get in on the action. But before you throw down your hard-earned cash on that parlay, you'll want to know the ins and outs of sports gambling in Florida. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to start betting on sports, from signing up for accounts to strategy tips to get you to the winners circle. Ready to turn your sports fandom into cold hard cash? Read on to start building your bankroll.
The History of Sports Betting Laws in Florida
Florida has had a long and complicated history with sports betting. While most forms of gambling were legalized in Florida decades ago, sports betting has faced more obstacles.
In 2018, the Supreme Court struck down a federal law banning sports betting, opening the door for states to legalize it. Many expected Florida to quickly follow suit, but legalization efforts have stalled in the state legislature. Some lawmakers argue sports betting should require a constitutional amendment approved by voters.
Currently, sports betting is illegal in Florida, though many continue placing bets through offshore websites and apps, or make wagers with local bookies. These underground markets mean Florida is missing out on potential tax revenue from legal sports betting.
Some hope Florida will legalize sports betting to regulate the industry, generate tax dollars, and allow fans to bet on their favorite teams. Opponents argue it could increase gambling addiction and threaten the integrity of sports. It remains unclear if or when Florida will join more than 20 other states in legalizing sports betting.
If legalized, sports betting in Florida would likely be run by the Seminole Tribe, which operates many of the state’s casinos, or by commercial casino companies and racing tracks. Bets could be placed on pro sports like the NFL and NBA, as well as college sports.
The path to legal sports betting in Florida is complicated, but many fans remain hopeful the Sunshine State will get in the game soon. In the meantime, sports bettors will have to continue placing their bets the old-fashioned way, whether legally or otherwise.
Current Legal Status of Sports Gambling
So, you're interested in legally betting on sports in Florida? Unfortunately, at this time sports gambling is limited in the Sunshine State.
In 2018, the Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on sports betting, allowing states to legalize it. Florida legislators have considered bills to legalize sports gambling, but none have passed so far. There are a few exceptions though.
- Pari-mutuel betting: Florida allows pari-mutuel betting on horse racing, dog racing, and jai alai at licensed facilities. Some offer sports betting on simulcast events from out-of-state racetracks and jai alai frontons.
- Daily fantasy sports: Daily fantasy sports (DFS) like DraftKings and FanDuel are legal in Florida since 2016. DFS isn't technically considered gambling under state law. Participants pay an entry fee to compete for prizes by building fantasy lineups based on athletes' stats.
- Tribal casinos: Two Seminole tribe casinos offer sports betting under their gaming compact with the state. Bets must be placed in person at the Hard Rock Sportsbook in Tampa and Hollywood.
- Cruises: Some cruise lines that depart from Florida ports offer casino games and sports betting in international waters. Once back in state waters or docked, gambling is prohibited.
While limited, there are a few ways for sports enthusiasts to get in the game here. The odds may be in Florida's favor to pass legislation allowing expanded sports gambling at land-based or online sites. With several bills under review, the opportunity could soon present itself for more people to experience the thrill of victory, agony of defeat, and everything in between. Stay tuned!
Options for Florida Residents to Bet on Sports
As a resident, you have a few choices when it comes to placing bets on your favorite sports teams and events. None are ideal, but at least you have some options to get your action down.
The first option is to use offshore sportsbooks. These online sportsbooks are licensed and regulated in countries like Costa Rica, Panama, and Malta. Since they’re located offshore, they operate outside the jurisdiction of US gambling laws. Many Florida residents use sites like Bovada, BetOnline, and SportsBetting.ag to bet on sports.
The downside is these sites aren’t regulated by any US governing body, so there are risks. However, many have been operating for decades and have good reputations. They offer competitive odds and lines on all major US sports and events. You can fund your account with a credit/debit card, bank wire, money orders, and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
Another option is to use a local bookie. Many small-time bookies operate in Florida, taking bets from friends, neighbors, and associates. You can bet over the phone, in person, or in some cases online. However, bookies aren’t regulated or licensed in any way, so there are even more risks. They can disappear with your money or refuse to pay if you win big. Only use a bookie you know and trust.
Finally, many Florida residents travel to nearby states like Mississippi, Louisiana and the Bahamas to place legal wagers. Some casino destinations like Biloxi, Mississippi and Freeport in the Bahamas actively court Florida sports bettors. You can make a fun weekend getaway out of it, enjoy the resorts and entertainment, and also place bets at regulated sportsbooks. Of course, this requires time and money for travel and accommodation.
While not ideal, Florida residents do have options to get in the game when it comes to sports betting. Do your research, understand the risks, and only gamble what you can afford to lose. With some luck, your team will cover the spread and your bets will cash!
Future Outlook: Will Sports Betting Be Legalized?
The future of legal sports betting in Florida is uncertain. While many states have legalized sports wagering following the Supreme Court decision, Florida lawmakers have been hesitant to move forward due to lobbying from tribal casinos and Disney. However, public support for legal sports betting in Florida is growing.
A number of bills have been introduced in recent years to legalize sports betting, but none have made it into law. In 2020, legislation proposed creating a gaming commission to regulate sports betting at casinos, race tracks and online. The bill had bipartisan support but ultimately died in committee. Similar bills are expected to be introduced again in 2021.
Legalizing sports betting could be a boon for Florida’s economy. The American Gaming Association estimates that Floridians already bet nearly $9 billion annually on sports, with most wagers placed through illegal offshore websites or bookies. Legalizing sports betting would allow these revenues to be taxed and regulated. Some projections estimate Florida could generate $500 million in tax revenue from legal sports betting.
While some groups strongly oppose expanding gambling in Florida, public support for legal sports betting is strong and growing. A 2020 survey found that 61% of Floridians support making sports betting legal in the state. National surveys also show widespread support for legal sports betting across demographic groups.
The future of Florida sports betting largely depends on the state legislature. However, pressure from public support, potential tax revenue and competition from other states where sports betting is legal and regulated may ultimately convince lawmakers to move forward with legislation to legalize sports wagering in the Sunshine State. The coming years will determine whether Florida gets in the game or remains on the sidelines.
So there you have it, sports fans in the Sunshine State. While traditional sports betting remains illegal in Florida, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the action. You might be wondering, can you bet on sports in Florida? Well, with daily fantasy sports, horse racing, and offshore betting sites, you have plenty of options to get your sports gambling fix. Is it ideal? No, but for now, it’s the best Florida has to offer. And what about online betting? Can you bet online in Florida? Keep up with legislation on the horizon and make your voice heard if you want to see changes. In the meantime, study up on the legal options, place your bets responsibly, and enjoy watching your teams and players battle it out to victory. The future of sports betting in Florida is unclear, but the passion for sports in the state is stronger than ever.