Florida Betting Sites
Florida is home to numerous betting options both online and in the real world. Legal online gambling in Florida currently includes horse racing betting, greyhound gambling and daily fantasy sports. In the physical world, Florida has horse racing betting, bingo, conventional casinos and jai alai betting.
Sports gambling in Florida does not seem likely at this time. The state has long been eyed as a significant potential market for sports gambling, but modifications to state authorities have made any upcoming gaming expansions harder as they currently take a statewide referendum initiated by petition.
Legal Online Betting Options
Let’s start with a fast list of authorized Florida gaming websites and dig into all the details below.
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Horse and Greyhound Betting:
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Horse and Greyhound Racing
Online horse racing and greyhound gambling have been legal in Florida for decades and a number of big racing sites accept customers from the Sunshine State. BetAmerica, TwinSpires and TVG all accept Florida clients and are licensed directly here in the United States.
In November 2018, Florida voters approved Amendment 13 to end greyhound racing. The change made greyhound racing and betting on live greyhound races held in Florida illegal starting on January 1st, 2021.
Existing racetracks will nevertheless be permitted to provide poker and other games after the change takes effect, however they will no longer be in a position to sponsor live greyhound races. This modification also has no effect on online greyhound racing, which will stay legal because the amendment only attempts to stop wagers put on races held at the state.
The legal problem for fantasy sports in Florida is complicated and uncertain, but most daily dream websites have served the state for years with no hindrance from local officials.
A number of attempts to officially legalize fantasy sports in Florida have failed over the years because of disputes over how the action should be categorized and the intricacy of tribal gaming contracts between the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
A 1991 Attorney General opinion lumped season-long fantasy sports in with gambling and opined that it is probably illegal under state law, but the opinion is obsolete and does not maintain legal weight. Just as lawmakers want to clarify the legal status of fantasy sports, progress has been slow. Meanwhile, Florida residents are accepted at both FanDuel and DraftKings:
Florida gambling law permits games of skill only if entrance fees do not directly lead to the prize pool. What this means is that it’s authorized to pay an entry fee and compete for a fixed prize, but not to play in a contest where all of the entry fees are collected to form the prize pool .
As an instance, it would be legal to sponsor a paid-entry golf tournament if the organizers set fixed prizes that don’t change no matter the number of men and women enter the tournament. The exact same tournament would cross the line into illegal land if prizes were decided by pooling entrance charges and paying the winners a proportion of the prize pool.
A 1990 comment from the Attorney General summed it up as follows:
“Thus, I am of the view that a contest of skill, like a hole-in-one golf competition, where the contestant pays an entrance fee, which doesn’t constitute the decoration, for the opportunity to win a prized trophy from the exercise of skill, doesn’t violate the gaming laws of the state. To the extent that previous views of the office might be inconsistent with the conclusion reached herein, they are modified.”
WorldWinner.com, that is currently the largest skill gaming website, accepts residents of Florida but restricts them from certain contests where the prize pool is not fixed. Follow the link below to read more about WorldWinner:
What about the lottery?
Florida DOES NOT sell tickets on line nor does it provide a subscription service. Of course, you could always try your luck at Experienced lottery resellers that you may discover online. I don’t recommend going that route though. It is still illegal to sell lottery tickets online in Florida so any website involved in the business is completely untrue and probably located abroad.
Nobody actually understands how safe or legit overseas lottery resellers are. They claim to have a staff of agents located around the world whose job it would be to go about and buy lottery tickets on behalf of consumers. The issue is there’s no way to verify how it really works.
If you want to play the lottery, then it’s ideal to just go buy your tickets in person. You truly don’t want to leave the destiny of your $40 million dollar in the hands of some overseas, quasi-legal website. Countries do have the ability to sell tickets on the internet, but Florida does not yet do that.
Sports Betting at Florida
Sports gambling is illegal for aside from 2 exceptions: jai alai betting and cruise ships which sail to international waters to offer sports gambling.
The exemption for jai alai gambling dates back to a time in Florida during which jai alai was considerably larger than the vague sport it’s today. Jai alai arrived to Florida in the 1920s, and eventually the nation turned into somewhat of an epicenter for jai alai players around the world because of warm weather year-round and effortless access from Spain and Latin America, where jai alai is a favorite.
During its heyday, jai alai was exempted from state and federal sports betting prohibitions. Jai alai preserved a strong presence in Florida throughout the 1970s but entered a continuous decline from the 1980s amid increasing competition from professional sports clubs, the South and lottery Florida casinos.
Nowadays, jai alai is a rather niche sport and there are just a couple of active frontons in operation today. For the most part, jai alai survives today primarily due to Florida gambling laws that require card rooms to offer some form of parimutuel wagering (such as jai alai, greyhound racing or horse racing betting). Thus, most jai alai frontons exist primarily to facilitate other kinds of gambling.
Another”exception” to Florida’s sports gambling prohibition happens on the cruise ships managed by Victory Casino Cruises. Victory Casino Cruise ships depart twice each day out of Port Canaveral. These boats sail into international waters, open a casino and sportsbook for a couple hours and then return to shore later the exact same day.
As far as a widespread legalization of sports betting, Florida doesn’t appear likely to expand its gaming choices any time soon. There haven’t been any efforts to present sports gambling legislation and there have been no recent efforts to legalize sports betting.
A report by Eilers & Krejcik Gaming recorded the 32 countries most likely to legalize sports gambling within five decades of a Supreme Court ruling overturning the national prohibition of sports gambling. Florida wasn’t contained in that list, but it had been included in a supplemental list of all 12 additional states likely to legalize sports gambling within seven decades of such a ruling.
Will Sports Betting Ever Be Legalized in Florida?
Apart from the exceptions mentioned previously, sports gambling remains illegal in Florida and that is unlikely to change any time soon. Florida has a complex mixture of competing interests involving lawmakers, Tribal concerns as well as the Disney business that all have their own opinions on the expansion of gambling.
The chances of Florida legalizing sports gambling anytime soon took a further hit in 2018 when voters approved a ballot measure that basically stripped the state legislature from authorizing any gaming expansion, including sports betting.
Formerly, the state legislature might have potentially drafted a law to make Florida sports betting legal. Under the new amendment, Florida citizens would have to initiate a campaign to gather signatures to place the issue into a statewide referendum. Then, voters would need to approve that referendum by 60 percent to make sports betting legal. It’s possible, but not too likely at this moment.
Is it lawful to wager online in Florida?
It depends on what your definition of”lawful” is. A couple of kinds of internet betting are explicitly legal in Florida (horses, greyhounds, fantasy and ability ). It’s obviously illegal to run an online casino, card room or some other business that takes wagers without the proper licensing.
What is not clear is whether it is a crime to put bets online at unlicensed gaming websites. The key text in Florida’s gambling laws reads as follows:
“849.08 Gambling. Whoever plays or engages in any game at cards, keno, roulette, faro or other game of chance, at any place, by any device whatever, to get money or other item of value, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree…”
It seems fairly apparent that this law makes it a misdemeanor crime to participate in obvious gambling games like slot machines, slots, blackjack, craps and so forth. The part that says”by any device whatever” can be easily interpreted to include the internet. On the other hand, the state has never once prosecuted a single individual for the mere act of placing bets online. Hunting down people playing blackjack in their computers just isn’t a priority.
Internet poker is a different matter. The above mentioned law doesn’t explicitly cite”poker” although it does mention”any game .” But — there’s always a but — that the phrase”other game of chance” seems to imply that only games of chance are forbidden. If poker is not a game of chance, this legislation doesn’t apply.
It does not end there, folks. You and that I might not consider poker a sport of chance, but sure federal and state laws most certainly do specify poker as exactly that. Florida law does not define games of chance nor does it mention poker and there is no case law to fall back on.
Someone would have to push the thing before we ever get Florida’s view on the situation of poker being skill or luck. This probably won’t happen anytime soon because nobody is hunting down poker players either.
What the Future Holds for Internet Gambling at Florida
An increasing number of states are in the process of legalizing online poker and casino games following a federal judge ruled in 2011 the Wire Act of 1961 only applies to sports gambling. Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey have already legalized internet poker, casino games or even both. State legislators in Florida have not yet moved to change anything. No legislation is pending at this time.
It doesn’t seem like anything will probably be shifting in Florida any time soon either. The country is largely opposed to the expansion of online gambling. Back in April of 2014, Florida governor Rick Scott expressed his opposition to expanding online betting at the federal level with a letter directed to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.
In the years since, there have been no real efforts to alter Florida gaming legislation. The current status quo appears quite likely to stay as it is for the foreseeable future.