In Florida, various forms of gambling have been legal since 1931. However, the scope is limited because the state has not legalized some gambling activities, such as online betting. The state also regulates the wagering amount and where casinos should be located. This article covers the legality of different forms of gambling in Florida.
Online Sports Betting
Online sports betting sites, even those running state-of-art gambling software, are illegal in Florida. Also, it is illegal to register with international sportsbooks since they are not licensed to operate in the state. However, there was an attempt to legalize sports wagering activities in the recent past.
In 2021, lawmakers enacted legislation that legalized bookies and retail sports betting. Subsequently, the Seminole Tribe launched Hard Rock Sportsbook to serve the untapped market. Unfortunately, a federal court ruled that online betting is illegal, forcing the tribe to take the bookie offline.
Currently, the future of sports betting in Florida is still uncertain. However, the Seminole Tribe has appealed the ruling, and the Court of Appeal might decide sometime in 2023.
Therefore, if the ruling is overturned, the tribe might relaunch their app and other gambling products. However, the decision might not be final since the losing party might take the matter to the Supreme Court. Consequently, the lawsuits might delay online sports betting for several months.
Florida law doesn’t address online casinos and online games of chance. Therefore, such services are illegal in the state. Consequently, law enforcement agencies actively shut down Florida-based sites that try to offer online casino games for real money, such as Pay Per Head sites, that offer casinos as well as a sportsbook.
However, Floridians can legally play casino games in sweepstakes and social casinos. Social casinos offer games like video poker, blackjack variants, and slot machines. You can play such games and win coins without gambling.
The state doesn’t consider sweepstake betting as gambling because punters play with virtual “gold coins”. Therefore, it is not real money betting since sweeps coins don’t have inherent value. Fortunately, you can exchange the coins for various real money cash prizes.
Some notable sweepstake casinos include Luckyland Slots, Pulsz, and Chumba Casino. However, these options only offer games in free-play mode. If you want real rewards, you can consider playing at sites that offer redeemable coins. For instance, MyVegas rewards punters with redeemable comps, which you can exchange with different prizes.
Florida has seven brick-and-mortar casinos in different parts of the state. However, all of them are owned by the Indian tribes – the Miccosukee Tribe and the Seminole Tribe. Also, the casinos are located within tribal jurisdictions. However, the largest property is the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel.
Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS)
Florida has not yet enacted any legislation about Daily fantasy sports. Therefore, the games are not compliant with the state’s gambling laws. Nonetheless, Floridians participate in different DFS contests to win gifts. Popular DFS bookies include FanDuel and DraftKings sportsbook.
Betting on horse races is legal in Florida, and there are five main racetracks across the state. The best racetrack is Gulfstream Park which hosts the Pegasus World Cup and the Florida Derby.
Apart from the racetracks, there are several off-track betting locations in different parts of the state. Additionally, some of the venues are racinos, allowing punters to participate in horse betting and play casino games.
Furthermore, online horse betting is legal, and you can wager on your favourite horses on wagering apps and websites. Although there are many betting apps, FanDuel-owned TVG has the largest market share.
Currently, it is not possible to play Florida Lottery online. However, the state has over 13000 lottery retail locations where you can purchase tickets.
The lottery retailers offer dozens of games, including Grouper and Florida Lotto. You can also wager on multi-state draws such as the Mega Millions and Powerball. Additionally, there are many instant-win scratches with massive prizes.
Currently, online poker is illegal in Florida, and there are no active real-money poker sites in the state. Unfortunately, lawmakers don’t have a strong political will to legalize this gambling product.
Surprisingly, Florida doesn’t consider sweepstakes and social card rooms as gambling, provided they don’t involve real money. For that reason, the state has dozens of card rooms that allow you to play cards for gifts. There are also seasonal card tournaments with great rewards for top players. In such events, you can win big rewards such as a car and other valuable gifts.
Practical Implications of Gambling Laws in Florida
The practical implications of gambling laws in Florida can have a big impact on businesses and individuals. For example, casinos and other gaming establishments must abide by the state’s regulations or face legal consequences, while pari-mutuel wagering requires special licenses to operate. Additionally, any online activity that involves real money betting is strictly prohibited, with violators subject to possible arrest.
Furthermore, some local governments may impose additional restrictions on certain types of gambling activities within their jurisdiction. This means that residents and visitors alike should research their local ordinances before engaging in any form of gaming to ensure they remain within the law.
Finally, it’s important for anyone considering getting involved in any type of betting or gambling to know their rights under state law and what recourse is available if something goes wrong or if contractual obligations are not fulfilled. As such, it pays to be informed about all aspects of the legal landscape concerning gaming before making any bets or wagers.
Florida strictly regulates gambling activities, and the state doesn’t allow Floridians to play some games of chance. For instance, online poker, lottery, and sports offerings are unavailable. However, sports betting might be legalized if the Court of Appeal overturns the federal court ruling. Therefore, if you reside in Florida, only gamble on legal games to avoid violating the law.