Florida – The Sunshine State. The state is one of the more interesting ones as it has so many transient residents. A lot of people live in Florida for the winter, and between that and the sheer volume of vacationers, there is a lot of opportunities to make money from gambling in the state. The state’s take on gambling has been all over the map and has recently changed as a result of a referendum held during the mid-term election in 2018. Let’s review the most common forms of gambling available in Florida.
Sports Betting in Florida
Florida has been ripe with illegal sports betting activity for decades. In fact, some of the largest gambling ring busts outside of New York have happened in the southern state. One of the reasons that PASPA was fought and eventually repealed in the U.S. was to find a way to curtail this dangerous, unsafe form of sports betting. Now, while other states have jumped on the legal sports betting bandwagon, for the time being, Florida is sitting on the sidelines. This means that there are no local ways for gamblers to make sports bets in Florida.
Online Sports Betting
The online sports betting industry has been accepting American bets for 20 years, and despite some sites ceasing to operate recently, there are still many options left for Florida residents who want to make a bet on their favorite team or player. Online sites accept multiple payment forms, although getting money back to your account is not guaranteed… Playing with unregulated sportsbooks is not a good idea and players should avoid doing so. Regardless, many Floridians turn to unregulated sportsbooks to find betting lines they can use to make sports more entertaining.
Florida will not remain without online gambling laws forever of course and our hope, and the one of local sports betting enthusiasts, is that sports betting laws will be passed in the next couple of years in Florida. Once these laws come to pass, we have a team of sports betting experts who are constantly reviewing all the online sportsbooks in the market, and these folks will come up with the list of sites that we can recommend to our readers in Florida.
Of course, we will concentrate on the sportsbooks with solid offerings, including excellent mobile betting products. These days, you are more likely going to pull out your phone to make a bet than turn on your PC, and that is especially true if you are out with friends or attending a sporting event in person. We test all the betting options on mobile devices to make sure the journey to getting your bets placed is an easy one.
The online sportsbooks we will recommend here for residents of Florida all will have tremendous selections of games and betting lines and fair policies when it comes to bonuses and of course withdrawals.
Horse Betting in Florida
The pari-mutuel betting industry in the state has seen some radical changes recently. Most importantly, in the November 2018 election, the residents voted to ban live greyhound racing across the state by the end of 2020. This is a real shock to the industry, which was already feeling the hit of declining popularity. Anyone who wants to bet on the dogs will now have to bet on tracks from other states, and the future of many of the properties is in doubt.
Horse racing fans still have some options for local viewing. The horse tracks that are in business today include Gulfstream Park, Gulfstream West, Hialeah, Tampa Bay Downs, and Isle Casino Pompeo. Here, gamblers can bet on races at each track as well as tracks from across the United States via live stream. The biggest race of the season in the state is the Florida Derby at Gulfstream.
Online Horse Betting
None of the tracks offer their own online betting options so anyone who wants to gamble on the horses from their phones or laptops can turn to companies like Churchill Downs and TVG. Both these companies run online betting sites that accept wagers from players across the U.S. (it isn’t quite certain how they get away with this across state lines, but they do). There is no sign of changing legislation in the state that would allow Florida tracks to run their own digital sites.
Poker in Florida
One interesting twist in Florida is the popularity of poker and the availability of live poker games across the state. Not only do the casinos offer poker rooms, but the racetracks and dog tracks do as well, and these provide some excellent foot traffic into the facilities. It is unclear how the new ban on greyhound racing will affect these poker rooms or if a track will be able to operate with just poker as an option.
Casino Gambling in Florida
Casino gambling is very popular in Florida, but it is all controlled by the native American tribes. Initially, like many tribes across the United States, the Seminoles opened bingo halls and casinos on their sovereign land in the 1970s. After legal battles with the state for years, an agreement was reached in 1988. The state entered a compact with the Native Americans to operate all the legal casino and bingo operations in the state. Today, the Seminole Hard Rock Casino properties are among some of the nicest in the country, and there are several more casinos both on land and on the water (cruise casinos). Table games, slots, and poker are available at casinos in Florida.
There are also many underground slots parlors operating in the state. These masquerade as internet cafes, but when a player pays for time on the machine, they are able to play casino games. The funds are added to a digital account, and everything resets when the player loses or cashes out. We do not recommend these locations, and they are often the subject of police activity.
Online Casinos in Florida
With the land-based cafes using online casino technology, you would think that there would be a huge clampdown on online casino activity from people’s homes. That is not the case – you can access dozens of unregulated sites that continue to accept U.S. players. The options aren’t as vast as the glory days of online casinos, but for anyone looking to play some blackjack or video poker from their couch, there are still some places to play. Doing so is at your own risk however and we do not recommend playing with unregulated casinos, the risk is just not worth it.
Lottery in Florida
Given how many retirees there are in Florida, it is not surprising at all to hear that the lottery is big business in the state. This is crucial revenue coming to the state that is repurposed for education programs as well as assisting other worthy causes across the state. Since the Florida Lottery was officially launched in 1988, the state is proud to announce that well over 34 Billion Dollars has been collected and returned to state agencies. That is a huge amount of cash that comes from scratch cards and draw games like Powerball, Mega Millions, Cash4Life, and the many “Pick” games that are open only to Florida residents. Overall, the lottery shows no signs of slowing down, and with more and more people choosing to spend their retirement in the state, we expect the revenue figures to continue to be very positive for decades to come.
Florida Gambling FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Florida?
The short answer is that sports betting is not legal in the state. In fact, with the recent decision to ban greyhound racing in the state, Florida seems to be taking an even more conservative stance. Floridians looking to place bets will need to travel to neighbouring states or to Las Vegas. For the Floridians who are looking to bet online, they will have to wait for state legislation that allows online sportsbooks.
When will sports betting be legal in Florida?
At this point, we believe that someone will introduce legislation to legalize sports betting sometime in the second half of 2019. It is likely to be received with heavy opposition, so we don’t expect sports betting to be legal in the state until at least early 2020.
What is the best online sportsbook for Floridians?
For now there are no Florida-Licensed sportsbooks so we are unable to recommend ay. Safety and security are very important and therefore playing with an unregulated sportsbook is not a good idea. We advise Florida residents to wait until Florida licensed online sportsbooks become legal. These will offer promotions tailored to residents of Florida, and offer interesting marketing for betting on local Florida teams.