Florida Sports Betting

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Florida sports betting will not be put to a voter referendum in November 2022. Florida Education Champions (FEC) announced it would not have the required 891,589 valid signatures by Feb. 1. FEC only had 477,112 as of late January, according to the Florida Division of Elections website.

FEC had partnered with DraftKings and FanDuel to promote the referendum. DraftKings upped the ante in January by offering all of its Florida customers $100 if they signed the petition.

Daniel Wallach, an attorney who specializes in sports gambling issues, said that development will put the matter of legal Florida sports betting on hold for a while. Florida bettors may not see legal sports betting apps until 2024.

Florida Sports Betting Apps Launch Updates

There will not be a referendum in November on Florida sports betting. Florida Education Champions acknowledged it would not be able to get the needed signatures in time. The ballot initiative was supported by some of the larger sportsbooks including DraftKings and FanDuel.

In March, Florida sports betting was dealt another blow when the Department of Justice instructed the D.C. Circuit Court to stay all filing deadlines related to the key West Flagler v Haaland et al case until it clarifies its ruling in the related Monterra v. Haaland case.

Daniel Wallach, an attorney who focuses on gaming issues, said that legal sports betting in Florida is likely dead until 2024 due to that development.

That’s bad news for the state, which had hoped to reap billions from the Seminole Tribe in exchange for exclusive rights to sports betting. Just before the end of last year’s legislative session, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced an agreement with the Seminole Tribe that would launch mobile betting in the state by the end of 2021.

Hard Rock Sportsbook then went live in Florida on November 1. It then suspended operations on December 4 after the Florida sports betting compact was overturned by a federal judge.

It is uncertain whether Hard Rock Sportsbook will be able to resume the use of its sports-betting app.

Florida Sports Betting Updates

  • March 20, 2022:

    The University of Florida men’s basketball team ended its season with a 72-56 loss to Xavier in the NIT basketball tournament.

  • February 10, 2022:

    One legal expert who specializes in gaming law predicts that legal sports betting in Florida is a long way away.

    “Absent a reversal by the [courts], there will be no legal online sports betting in Florida until 2024 or 2025 at the earliest,” Daniel Wallach told Gaming Today. 

  • January 28, 2022:

    Florida sports betting will not see a voter referendum in November 2022. Florida Education Champions failed to get 891,589 valid signatures by Feb. 1.

  • January 21, 2022:

    Florida Education Champions has only 401,958 of the required  891,589 valid signatures it needs by Feb. 1 to get the sports betting referendum on the November 2022 ballot, according to the Florida Division of Elections website.

  • January 19, 2022:

    The U.S. Department of the Interior filed a notice of appeal in the Florida sports betting case.

  • January 15, 2022:

    DraftKings offered its Florida customers $100 to sign the Florida Education Champions petition to get a sports betting referendum on the November 2022 ballot.

     

  • January 6, 2022:

    An effort to bring sports betting to Florida through a voter referendum appears to be losing steam.

     

  • December 20, 2021:

    Florida sports betting is still in limbo, but another horse racing betting app has launched in the state. The BetMGM Horse Racing mobile app has joined the likes of TVG and TwinSpires in the Florida market. Horse racing betting apps are legal and operational in Florida.

  • December 13, 2021:

    Daniel Wallach, a Florida-based attorney who specializes in gambling law, said the path to relaunching sports betting in the state needs to be determined by voters in a referendum.

     

  • December 4, 2021:

    Hard Rock Sportsbook has suspended its mobile sports betting app in Florida after the appellate court upheld a federal judge who ruled that the Seminole Tribe’s compact with Florida violates federal gambling law.

     

     

  • November 22, 2021:

    Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled in favor of two pari-mutuels and has thrown out the compact legalizing Florida sports betting. It’s unclear whether the Hard Rock sports betting app released earlier this month by the Seminole Tribe will stop operating in the state as the ruling is likely to be appealed.

  • November 1, 2021:

    Florida sports betting is now live, with HardRockSportsbook.com being the first and only to launch.

  • October 15, 2021:

    Florida sports betting is technically now legal, but the Seminole Tribe is not available to take bets. Lawsuits are still pending, and we may have an update after a hearing on Nov. 5.

  • September 22, 2021:

    Representatives for the Seminole Tribe admitted a mobile betting app launch on October 15 is unlikely. Documents filed with a federal court set November 15 as a more likely launch date.

  • September 16, 2021:

    Florida faces a number of legal hurdles before sports betting will become a reality in the state.

  • September 1, 2021:

    Governor Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe filed briefs in support of Florida’s revised gaming compact.

  • August 12, 2021:

    Magic City Casino and Bonita Springs Poker Room file a lawsuit in US District Court in DC, home to the Department of Interior, arguing that when Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland approved the compact, she exceeded her authority.

  • August 6, 2021:

    Florida’s sports betting compact received federal approval, but some legal challenges remain.

  • July 13, 2021:

    DraftKings and FanDuel are spending millions in order to help Florida’s sports betting initiatives pass.

  • July 6, 2021:

    Magic City Casino filed a lawsuit alleging the Florida mobile sports betting section of the compact violates the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

  • June 23, 2021:

    Florida voters could get a say on sports betting in the state in 2022. The Florida Education Champions a group created by DraftKings and FanDuel will start collecting signatures to qualify for the 2022 ballot.

  • May 26, 2021:

    Governor Ron DeSantis signed the Florida sports betting compact.

  • May 19, 2021:

    One day after the Florida Senate approved the agreement, the state House of Representatives did the same.

Florida Sports Betting Apps

Hard Rock Sportsbook

The Hard Rock Sportsbook sports betting app is the only app to have launched in Florida. If and when it is allowed to return in the state, the Hard Rock Sportsbook app features a wide variety of sports-betting options: spread, money line, totals, parlays, props, futures, teasers, and more.

Funding your Hard Rock Sportsbook account is easy, too. Deposit money securely with PayPal, Venmo, or directly from your bank. Instant withdrawals are also available.

You’ll find an extensive list of sports to bet on including the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, NCAA Football, NCAA Basketball, MMA, UFC, NASCAR, and more.

HardRock Sportsbook offers competitive odds and solid promotions. Most recently, new accounts received a risk-free $100 bet and a matching sign-up bonus up to $1,000. The app features a modern interface, and it’s very easy to use.

Another thing we like about the Hard Rock Sportsbook app? It features two clearly designated areas for games that are live and those that are coming soon. This means you’ll never miss out on the action.

HardRock Sportsbook has the distinction of being the first (and only) sports-betting app to successfully launch and operate in Florida. In time, we expect it to return.

DraftKings Sportsbook

There is a strong likelihood that DraftKings will launch in Florida in the future, too. As mentioned above, the company was a driving force behind the failed sports-betting ballot initiative.

Florida Education Champions needed to have 891,589 valid signatures by Feb. 1, 2022, to get the referendum on the November 2022 ballot. According to the Florida Division of Elections website, the petition had 349,035 valid signatures as of mid-January.

On Jan. 15, 2022, DraftKings upped the ante and offered all of its Florida customers $100 if they sign the petition.

“Sign the petition to add sports betting to the Florida ballot! All you have to do is print, sign, and mail in yours by Jan. 19. If we hit the signature count by Feb. 1, Florida customers will receive $100 DK dollars,” DraftKings Sportsbook tweeted.

It’s not a question of if, but rather when DraftKings will be up and running in Florida.

The DraftKings Sportsbook app ranks at the top of our list for best overall betting experience. The app features a user-friendly interface that helps new sports bettors acclimate more easily. DraftKings Sportsbook also features a slew of promotions for new users. There is a matching sign-up bonus up to $1,000, and a $50 free bet after you make a deposit. Keep an eye out for new daily promotions, too.

The DraftKings app, which is available in both iOS and Android, features some of the most competitive odds in the industry.

FanDuel Sportsbook

FanDuel Sportsbook is another blue-chip book that is likely to launch in Florida in due time. With DraftKings, the company is a major contributor and campaigner for the sports-betting ballot initiative.

FanDuel Sportsbook offers a risk-free bet of up to $1,000 for new users. One thing that sets FanDuel apart is its live betting. The elite user interface allows for seamless in-game wagers, which are also known as live bets that are made when a game’s in progress. In-game betting has become increasingly popular in the industry, and nobody offers a better experience than FanDuel Sportsbook.

The FanDuel Sportsbook is one of the most comprehensive sports-betting apps available to both iOS and Android users. We highly recommend FanDuel Sportsbook for its attractive lines (across several sports) and ease of use.

DraftKings and FanDuel – two of the largest sportsbook brands in the industry – already offer daily fantasy sports to Florida residents. Technically, DFS doesn’t count as official gambling, so both brands are allowed to offer services in Florida despite grumbling from the state government. Moreover, both companies are behind a massive public interest campaign intent on putting mobile betting to a public vote to ensure they are not left out by the Seminole Tribe. 

Florida Legal Sportsbooks

It’s important to note the risks bettors take by using illegal or offshore betting sites while waiting for a more robust Florida mobile betting launch.

In truth, you should never use an offshore or illegal betting site for several reasons:

  • They have terrible digital security, which places both your personal information and your winnings at risk
  • They also provide subpar betting experiences since their betting lines and odds are not nearly as player-friendly compared to legal or licensed sportsbooks

All in all, legal and fully licensed betting sites are safer and more secure than even the most attractive illegal sportsbook. While you will need to pay taxes on your winnings, it’s a small price to pay for the better security and peace of mind you’ll get knowing that your deposits, winnings, and personal information are all safe from hackers or sketchy organizations.

Florida Sports Betting Revenue

Perhaps the single most important aspect that may sway Florida legislators and the public toward sports betting legalization is revenue.

As mentioned above, the Seminole Tribe stopped paying the state government $350 million in annual revenue in 2019, when they contested that allowing racinos to provide various card games broke the 2010 Compact. This took a serious bite out of the state government’s budget, which was only compounded with COVID-19.

All told, the Florida state government has had to deal with a $3 billion shortfall between the years 2020 and 2021. That has had serious negative effects on its operational abilities and the comfort of its people.

Sports betting is one potential pathway to additional revenue that the government may not be able to afford to pass up. Just how much revenue can the state government expect? It’s tough to say with any specificity.

But other states betting industries can provide some insight into the revenue the Florida state government may expect. For example, New Jersey brought in over $50 million in November 2020 alone. That wasn’t even the state’s most profitable month; in October, it brought in nearly $59 million.

Additionally, reaching some kind of sports betting licensing agreement would allow the state government to bring in revenue from the Seminole Tribe once again. All in all, the government could see hundreds of millions or even close to $1 billion in annual revenue per year once a sports betting industry is established.

How Florida Compares To Other States

At this time, Florida ranks pretty lowly compared to states with legal sports betting industries as it is so new.

This stands in stark contrast to many other states, such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Colorado, all of which have booming sports betting industries that bring in hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue at minimum every year. Even Louisiana legalized sports betting via referendum in 2020 and is working on its rules and regulations to launch betting. 

Additionally, Florida doesn’t have a big casino industry despite having several retail casinos dotted throughout its territory. The Seminole Tribe overall only brings in about $574 million per year as of 2019. That sounds like a lot of money, but it pales in comparison to states like Missouri, which brings over $2 billion in revenue, or New York, which brings in $2.7 billion per year in annual revenue.

All this is to say that Florida needs to do a lot for its gambling industry if it wants to catch up to these giants. Casinos need to expand and offer new gaming opportunities and luxury resort options, and sports betting needs to launch if it wants to benefit from the massive revenue streams just waiting to be tapped.

Florida Betting Successes And Failures

Florida Sports Betting Success

The main success in bringing legal betting to Florida is that it is even being discussed in the first place. After Gov. DeSantis reached an agreement with the Seminole Tribe, resulting in a new draft Gaming Compact, things looked like smooth sailing for sports fans and bettors in the state. Experts are estimating apps could launch in 2022. But, there are some issues that could stand in the way of mobile apps launching in Florida. 

Where Could Florida Improve Online Gambling

Although the Gaming Compact between Florida and the Seminole Tribe left the door open to online casino gaming in the future, this looks a lot less likely to happen. The Gaming Compact included a provision stating that the parties to the agreement could reconvene in three years to expand the Compact to include online casino gaming. The State Senate, though, pulled this provision immediately on the first day of its Special Session. This means the likelihood of online casino gaming coming to Florida is slim.

Another way in which Florida lags in comparison to other states with legal gaming is the power of the Seminole Tribe. Other states with legal betting have online betting apps owned and operated by commercial entities or tribes, and often a combination of the two. The Seminole Tribe has the sole power of all legal gaming in the state, which places them in a position of power that could lead to less competition in the state.

Legalization Effort In Florida

The road to Florida sports betting legalization has been far from smooth. In early 2022, Florida Education Champions (FEC) was struggling to get the requisite number of signatures on a petition that would put Florida sports betting to a voter referendum. FEC ultimately failed in that quest.

In April 2021, the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe entered into a Gaming Compact, which gave the tribe a 30-year term in which it controls all sports betting in the state.

On August 6, 2021, the US Department of Interior issued a federal “deemed” approval letter to the state of Florida. Once Florida entered into a gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe, the US government had 45 days to approve or reject the compact. Rather than taking direct action, as it did in Arizona, the Department of Interior allowed the 45-day timeframe to lapse. At the time of the deemed approval, it was reported that mobile betting could launch under the compact on October 15, 2021, though that did not happen. On November 1, 2021, Hard Rock Sportsbook launched its mobile betting app in Florida. On December 4, 2021, Hard Rock Sportsbook suspended operations and the use of its sports-betting app.

Timeline Of Florida Sports Betting

  • 2010 – The Seminole Tribe receives the exclusive rights to offer all gambling activities in Florida
  • 2019 – The Seminole Tribe removes itself from the 2010 Compact due to a disagreement with racino card game revenue and operation. The state stops receiving revenue from its gambling operations, although casino operations continue
  • 2020 – Sen. Jeff Brandes files SB 392, which would allow for legal sports betting
  • 2021 – Gov. DeSantis reaches an agreement with the Seminole to expand gambling in Florida to include both retail and online betting. 
  • August 2021 – The US Department of Interior issued a “deemed” approval letter to the betting compact, implying it is legal under US law. 
  • October 2021 – the anticipated launch date has come and gone. Updates could come in November after a hearing on Nov. 5 to address one of the lawsuits.
  • November 2021 – Hard Rock Sportsbook launches its app in Florida.
  • December 2021 – Hard Rock Sportsbook suspends the use of its sports-betting app.
  • January 2022 – Florida sports betting will not have a referendum in November 2022 after Florida Education Champions announced it was unable to get the required amount of signatures by the Feb. 1 deadline.

Florida Teams

Florida is an attractive sports betting market for most operators in part because of the variety of professional sports franchises that make their homes in this state. With these franchises come small armies of fans who will likely be more than happy to put money down on their teams during upcoming matches.

Florida Professional Sports Teams

There are lots of popular professional Florida sports franchises you can support with your wagers. These include the Miami Heats, which is a famous NBA team and which started the careers of both Lebron James and Shaquille O’Neal.

Then there’s the Orlando Magic, another NBA team with around 2.7 million fans scattered throughout the state. Don’t forget the Miami Dolphins, an NFL team that has massive cultural power.

All told, you’ll be able to place wagers on all the major professional sport you can think of, including:

  • Basketball
  • Baseball
  • Football
  • Hockey
  • Soccer

Florida College Sports Teams

Florida’s college team roster is also nothing to sneeze at. Take the Florida Gators, a college basketball team, and a college football team. Both teams have lots of supporters both within and outside Florida’s borders, but the Gators football team is also known as a team that produces a lot of future NFL stars.

While Florida has a variety of baseball, basketball, and football college teams to support, it’s not yet known whether collegiate sports betting will be allowed in the first place. Many other states with legal sports betting industries, such as New Jersey, do not allow you to put money down on college sports.

Other states have limitations on placing wagers on in-state college teams or games that take place at State University arenas. However, there are some states that don’t have limitations on collegiate betting.

It’s not yet known whether Florida’s future sports betting industry will allow collegiate betting entirely, not at all, or only a partial capacity.

Other Sports To Bet On In Florida

Alongside more traditional sports to put money down on, you’ll be able to place wagers on a variety of other sporting activities. Many major and established sportsbook operators, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, have wide betting markets for all kinds of activities and leagues, such as:

  • Darts
  • Cricket
  • MMA fighting
  • NASCAR
  • Lacrosse

International sports are usually well represented by many major sportsbooks, too. These include Korean baseball, Australian rules football, rugby, and more. All in all, when Florida finally launches its sports betting industry, sports wagerers will find an almost infinite number of activities to bet on at their fingertips.

How To Place A Bet In Florida

When more sports betting apps come to Florida, it’ll help to already know how to place a bet with your favorite sportsbook app. Let’s break down the process you’ll be able to use with your sportsbook platform of choice when it launches.

Downloading An App

First, you’ll need to download the sportsbook app to your iPhone or Android device. iPhone users have it easy: all you have to do is type in the name of your sportsbook into the App Store search bar, then download the app to your phone. Installation should start automatically, and you can open the app afterward.

Android users must go through a slightly more complex process. In the past, the Google Play Store didn’t offer any gambling apps. That changed in early 2021. Many sports betting apps are now in the Google Play Store, but not all. If the Florida sports betting app you want is not in the Google Play Store, you can visit the sportsbook’s website and download the app from there.

Navigate to a “download” page or a similar spot, then click the appropriate links to start the download process. Note that you may need to give the website permission to access your phone for the download to complete.

Register For An Account

After downloading your favorite sportsbook, you’ll be able to register an account.

To do this, open the app and click on the registration button. Then provide some key pieces of personal information, including your Social Security number, date of birth, physical address, and more. All of this will be checked against government records to verify your identity and your age (you have to be 21 or older to place any sports wager in any state in the US).

After the site verifies your identity, it’ll also verify your location, both by checking your provided address and through the geolocation software that will automatically be installed alongside the sportsbook app. The geolocation software will prevent you from placing a wager outside of state lines.

Making A Deposit

Once you’ve made an account, you can make a deposit! All popular sportsbooks will offer a variety of deposit and withdrawal methods, the most common including:

  • Debit and credit card transfers
  • Direct bank wires or transfers
  • Transfers from electronic wallets like PayPal
  • Cash cage deposits at partnered casinos
  • And more

The exact deposit methods available to you will depend on the sportsbook you choose to download. Check out your options carefully so you can use your deposit method of choice.

Claiming Opening Bonuses

You’ll also want to claim any opening bonuses provided to new account holders before placing your first wager. Opening bonuses are often heavily determined by your initial deposit amount or are limited to a certain timeframe, such as seven days to place one of many free bets.

Again, be sure to check out the opening bonuses provided by various Florida sportsbooks. The opening bonus offers could help you pick between two sportsbooks that both look pretty attractive.

After finally claiming any available bonus credit, you can finally place a wager! Navigate through your sportsbook of choice, find a betting line that looks great, and put your money down!

Florida Sports Betting FAQs

How old do I have to be to bet online in Florida?

You need to be 21 years of age or older to place a sports bet in Florida.

Is it legal to bet on college sports in Florida?

No, and it’s not yet known whether legal collegiate betting will be allowed when other sports wagering activities are legalized. 

Who is in charge of regulating sportsbook apps in Florida?

The Florida Department of Lottery, which already oversees daily fantasy sports and the state lottery for regulatory purposes. Other states also use their lottery departments to oversee sports betting as well.

Do you need to be a resident of Florida to bet online?

No. But if you download the Florida sportsbook app on your chosen operator, you will need to be within Florida state lines to place a wager.

Is it safe to use an online sportsbook app?

Yes, provided you use a fully licensed and regulated sportsbook. These apps will be investigated and vetted by the state lottery or another organization, which will check them for good digital security and a solid operational history.

Is DraftKings legal in Florida?

Not for sports betting, but it does already offer daily fantasy sports.

More Resources On Florida Sports Betting

About the Author

Amber Hoffman

Amber is the Managing Editor of Gaming Today. She writes for a variety of websites in diverse industries, including gaming and travel and is a fan of international football (not "soccer") and Gaelic sports.

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