Florida is home to many betting options both online and in the real world. Legal online gambling in Florida now includes horse racing betting, greyhound gambling and everyday fantasy sports. In the physical world, Florida has horse racing betting, bingo, traditional casinos and jai alai betting.
Sports gambling in Florida does not appear likely at the moment. The country has long been eyed as a major potential market for sports gambling, but changes to state authorities have made any future gambling expansions harder as they now require a statewide referendum initiated by request.
Legal Online Betting Options
Let us begin with a quick list of authorized Florida betting sites and then dig into all the details below.
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Horse and Greyhound Racing
Online horse racing and greyhound gambling have been legal in Florida for decades and a variety of major racing websites accept clients 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 created greyhound racing and gambling on live greyhound races held in Florida illegal beginning on January 1st, 2021.
Present racetracks will still be permitted to offer poker and other games following the amendment takes effect, however they will no longer be in a position to sponsor live greyhound races. This amendment has no effect on online greyhound racing, which will stay legal because the amendment only attempts to stop wagers placed on races held at the state.
The legal problem for fantasy sports in Florida is complex and uncertain, but many daily fantasy websites have served the state for decades with no interference from officials.
A number of attempts to officially legalize fantasy sports in Florida have collapsed over the decades due to disputes over how the activity ought to be categorized and the intricacy of tribal gaming contracts between the nation and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
A 1991 Attorney General opinion lumped season-long fantasy sports in with gaming and opined it is most likely illegal under state law, but the opinion is obsolete and doesn’t hold legal weight. Just as lawmakers would like to clarify the legal standing of fantasy sports, progress has been slow. In the meantime, 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. This signifies is that it’s authorized to pay an entrance fee and compete for a fixed prize, but to not perform in a contest where all of the entry fees are accumulated to form the decoration pool .
For example, it would be legal to host a paid-entry golf championship in the event the organizers place fixed prizes which don’t change no matter how many people enter the tournament. That same tournament could cross the line into illegal territory if prizes were determined by pooling entry fees and paying the winners a proportion of the prize pool.
A 1990 comment from the Attorney General summed it up as follows:
“Accordingly, I am of the view that a competition of skill, like a hole-in-one golf contest, in which the contestant pays an entry fee, which does not make up the decoration, for the chance to win a valuable prize by the exercise of skill, does not violate the gambling laws of this nation. To the extent that previous opinions of the office may be inconsistent with the conclusion reached herein, they are hereby modified.”
WorldWinner.com, that is currently the largest skill gaming website, accepts citizens of Florida but restricts them from particular contests in which the prize pool isn’t fixed. Follow the link below to read more about WorldWinner:
What about the lottery?
Florida DOES NOT sell lottery tickets on line nor does it offer a subscription service. Of course, you could always try your luck at Experienced lottery resellers which you can find online. I don’t recommend going that route though. It’s still illegal to sell lottery tickets online in Florida so any website involved in the business is totally unregulated and most likely located overseas.
Nobody actually understands how secure or legit overseas lottery resellers are. They claim to have a team of representatives located around the globe whose job it is to go around and buy lottery tickets on behalf of customers. The problem is there is no way to verify how it really works.
If you would like to play the lottery, it is best to just go buy your tickets in person. You really don’t wish to leave the fate of your own $40 million dollar in the hands of a foreign, quasi-legal site. States do have the ability to sell tickets on the internet, but Florida doesn’t 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 provide sports gambling.
The exemption for jai alai gambling dates back to some time in Florida during which jai alai was much larger than the vague sport it is today. Jai alai came to Florida in the 1920s, and eventually the state turned into a little of an epicenter for jai alai players across the world owing to warm weather year-round and effortless accessibility from Spain and Latin America, where jai alai is a favorite.
Through its heyday, jai alai was even exempted from state and national sports betting prohibitions. Jai alai preserved a strong presence in Florida through the 1970s but entered a continuous decline from the 1980s amid rising competition from professional sports teams, the lottery and South Florida casinos.
Today, jai alai is a rather niche sport and there are just a couple of busy frontons in operation now. For the most part, jai alai survives today primarily due to Florida gaming laws that require card rooms to offer some kind of parimutuel wagering (for instance, jai alai, greyhound racing or horse racing gambling ). Therefore, most jai alai frontons exist chiefly to facilitate other kinds of gaming.
The other”exclusion” into Florida’s sports betting prohibition happens on the cruise ships managed by Victory Casino Cruises. Victory Casino Cruise ships leave twice a day from Port Canaveral. These boats sail into international waters, open a casino and sportsbook to get a couple hours and then come back to shore later the same day.
As far as a widespread legalization of sports betting, Florida doesn’t appear likely to expand its gambling options any time soon. There have been no efforts to introduce sports betting legislation and there have been no recent attempts to legalize sports gambling.
A report by Eilers & Krejcik Gaming recorded the 32 states most likely to legalize sports betting within five decades of a Supreme Court ruling overturning the national prohibition of sports betting. Florida was not included in that listing, but it was included in a supplemental collection of 12 additional states likely to legalize sports gambling within seven years of such a judgment.
Will Sports Betting Ever Be Legalized at Florida?
Apart from the exceptions mentioned previously, sports betting remains prohibited in Florida and that’s not likely to change any time soon. Florida has a complex mix of competing interests involving lawmakers, Tribal issues as well as the Disney business that all have their own opinions on the expansion of gambling.
The odds of Florida legalizing sports betting anytime soon took a further hit in 2018 when voters approved a ballot measure that essentially stripped the state legislature from authorizing any gambling expansion, such as sports betting.
Previously, the state legislature could have possibly drafted a new law to make Florida sports gambling legal. Under the new amendment, Florida citizens would need to initiate a campaign to collect signatures to place the issue into a statewide referendum. Subsequently, Republicans would need to approve that referendum by 60% to make sports gambling legal. It is possible, but not very likely at this time.
Is it legal to bet online in Florida?
It depends on what your definition of”lawful” is. A couple of forms of internet betting are explicitly legal in Florida (horses, greyhounds, dream and ability ). It is clearly illegal to run an internet casino, card room or any other company that accepts wagers without the correct licensing.
What isn’t clear is whether or not it is a crime to put bets online at unlicensed gaming websites. The main text in Florida’s gaming laws reads as follows:
“849.08 Gambling. Whoever plays or engages in any sport , keno, roulette, faro or other game of chance, at any place, by any device whatever, to get cash or other thing of value, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second level…”
It appears fairly clear that this legislation makes it a misdemeanor crime to take part in obvious gambling games such as slot machines, blackjack, craps and so forth. The part that says”by any device whatever” can be easily translated to incorporate the internet. On the other hand, the state hasn’t once prosecuted a single person for the mere act of placing bets online. Hunting down individuals playing blackjack on their computers just is not a high priority.
Online poker is a different issue. The above mentioned law does not explicitly mention”poker” although it does say”any game .” But — there is always a but — that the phrase”other game of chance” seems to suggest that just games of chance have been forbidden. If poker isn’t a game of chance, this legislation doesn’t apply.
It does not end there, folks. You and that I may not believe poker a sport of chance, but sure federal and state laws most certainly do define poker as precisely that. Florida law doesn’t 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 matter before we get Florida’s opinion on the situation of poker being skill or fortune. This likely will not happen anytime soon because nobody is hunting down poker players either.
What the Future Holds for Internet Gambling in Florida
A growing number of countries are in the process of legalizing online poker and casino games after a federal judge ruled in 2011 the Wire Act of 1961 only applies to sports betting. Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey have already legalized either internet poker, casino games or both. State legislators in Florida have not yet moved to change anything. No legislation is pending in this moment.
It doesn’t seem like anything will be changing in Florida anytime soon either. The country is mostly opposed to the growth of online gambling. In April of 2014, Florida governor Rick Scott voiced his opposition to expanding online gambling at the national level with a letter led to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.
In the years since, there have been no real attempts to change Florida gaming legislation. The present status quo appears quite likely to stay as it is for the near future.
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