The Sunshine State is well known for its amazing beaches, its great weather and its hanging chads (Google it), but it is also a hotbed of gambling activity. With the number of tourists that the state sees on an annual basis, it is the perfect market for online gambling activity, however movement on that front has been slow.
This guide to online gambling in Florida will outline the latest from the world of legislation, as well as give you an understanding of how the industry works as a whole. From tips on what games to play, to learning when sports betting is going to be legal in the state, everything you need to know about the Florida market is here.
Online/Mobile Sports Betting
Sports betting has been in the national discussion for quite some time, but things really heated up when states were given the chance to legalize the activity in May 2018. Since then, 20 states have either launched sportsbooks or passed legislation to do so. Florida seemed to have a very conservative view on the subject, but at the end of 2019, bill proposals started to be introduced. With the amount of sports teams (and fans) in the state, it is logical for the state to take advantage of this and also to thwart offshore sportsbooks from taking money out of its tax coffers.
Our online sports betting section takes you through a day in the life of a sports bettor – how to create accounts, read odds, and make wagers across a wide array of sports from across the globe.
Event though there are land-based casinos in Florida, to date there has been no introduction of legislation for online or mobile versions of the games. The Seminole Tribe controls all of the casino gambling in the state, and if there was to be an online presence, it is assumed that they would have control over that as a result of their compact with the state.
Regardless, those of you who are looking to understand the online casino industry a little better or perhaps learn how to play some of the games without embarrassing yourself in a live casino environment can take advantage of what our experts have compiled in our Online Casino section. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new game to fall in love with the next time you head to the casino!
Many of the dog tracks in Florida have opened poker rooms to offset the dwindling (and soon to be extinguished) revenue from running the races, giving people another reason to enter the track. The two Hard Rock properties in the state also host major poker events throughout the year – the popularity of the game shines like the sun in this state.
However, when it comes to online poker, Floridians are still in the dark. After the major offshore poker sites were closed in the early 2010s, some states have taken it upon themselves to regulate the industry. Florida is not one of those handful of states, and there does not appear to be any discussion about changing that anytime soon. Our online poker section reviews some of the other options you have for poker in the state such as sweepstakes poker and subscription-based sites, as well as an overview of the rules of some of the games you may not have tried like Short Deck and Chinese.
Online Horse Racing
Racing is very popular in Florida, split between horse and dog varieties. Unfortunately, the dog tracks are having to stop racing activity by Jan 1, 2021 due to new legislation, but the horse racing industry continues to thrive. Betting on the ponies, both in-state and from tracks around the country, is a popular pastime with an older demographic, and this includes being able to bet from your laptop or phone via one of the legal horse racing apps.
This section of our site covers all the apps open to Florida players, as well as giving you a sense of the most exciting races to follow and bet on from Florida and across the U.S. Horse betting can be a bit intimidating so our team of experts will try to simplify it all for our readers.
Online Lottery Games
With the number of retirees in the Florida area, it is no surprise that the lottery does as well as it does. However, despite the overwhelming popularity of the draw games in the state, there is no way to buy your tickets online through legal means. There are several unauthorized sites that act as agents to buy tickets for you, but without guidelines or oversight we don’t suggest that as an option.
Online Betting Guides
While not all forms of online gambling are legal yet in Florida, there are still plenty of reasons to learn about some of the games you could be playing online, and in the case of casino and poker, games you can currently play in live venues in the state. Our easy-to-read guides cover the basics of the rules of the games, as well as some initial strategy to make sure you are not a complete newbie when you sit down to play.
Online Gambling Bonuses
The most important transaction for any online gambling site is your first one – the one that opens your wallet. As a result, sites are climbing all over each other to give you the best Welcome Offers and Deposit Bonuses. How do you know which ones are legitimate and which ones are not worth your time? Spend some time with our guide to Online Gambling Bonuses and you can start to use the knowledge to maximize your return on investment either when online gambling is more prevalent in the state or when you are traveling to states that offer legal forms of play.
Online Gaming FAQ:
When will online sports betting be legal in Florida?
If we knew the answer to this question, we would be very popular! While we don’t have a crystal ball, there are signs of life for sports betting in Florida. Given that in 2019 it seemed as though no one was in a rush to pass legislation, the introduction of a bill in early 2020 will spark the debate, and as more states introduce online sports betting and report the tax revenues from the activity, we can expect states like Florida to accelerate their discussions on the topic.
Are offshore gambling sites illegal in Florida?
All of the changes to laws in the U.S. have not affected the sites that are based outside the country but accept Americans. The issue with these sites is that they are not bound to any oversight, meaning that when you send your money to them, you are accepting all the risk should something happen to your account. Yes, these sites have been in operation for years and many players swear by them, but with margins being squeezed and gamblers being given legal options in many states, some of these brands will not survive. When they are in trouble, you can be certain they wont be paying out accounts before they close the doors. We do not recommend playing at these sites.
Why is betting on horse racing already allowed in Florida but not sports betting?
Betting on horse racing is not a house-vs-player proposition. Pools of bets are made amongst players, with the track taking out a percentage to pay for the operation of the track and the horses. This type of betting, called pari-mutuel betting, has always been exempt from any betting laws on the books. This is why in Florida you see multiple options for betting on horses – since there is no “house” that can win, only the players in the pool, it is not considered the same as traditional gambling.