The Challenge of Legalizing Online Sports Betting in Florida
Sports betting in Florida is a more complicated issue than it might initially appear. While many states rushed to introduce legislation following the overruling of the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), FL did not. This is due to a long-running agreement with the Seminole Tribe, as they have a monopoly on many types of gambling in the state. If lawmakers choose to open sportsbook retail locations, they will have to forge a new agreement with the tribe.
So, is online sports betting legal in Florida if it isn’t available at brick-and-mortar sportsbooks? Unfortunately, it is not. The Sunshine State prohibits online sports betting and there are no sites that the government regulates so you can place bets safely.
There have been some attempts to change the laws in recent years. The latest were bills SB 968 and SB 970, in addition to HB 991. State Senator Jeff Brandes and a group of House Representatives headed by William Cloud Robinson Jr. filed them all in the Senate on November 18, 2019. Unfortunately, all three bills died on March 14, 2020, after they went to the Committee for Innovation, Industry, and Technology.
Lawmakers in Florida are keen to introduce some sort of legislation soon. If they introduce a new set of bills, you will be able to track their progress on this page.
The Battle to Open Commercial & Online Casinos in Florida
There are no commercial casinos in Florida except for the ones that the Seminole Tribe controls. Players can only find these casinos on tribal lands and the tribe is unlikely to grant permission for any new company to build a casino elsewhere. If you do wish to visit one of the Seminole casinos in FL, there are six to choose from.
Lawmakers will have to introduce new legislation to make online gambling available to the residents of the Sunshine State. Online casinos currently in operation do occasionally claim to allow US players on their sites, however, you should avoid these as the state does not regulate them. Lawmakers can choose to go around the tribal leaders to introduce legislation, but it would likely result in further disputes between the state government and tribal leaders.
If the state manages to reach an agreement with the Seminole Tribe that would permit the launch of either online gambling or the creation of a non-tribal commercial casino in Florida, you will be able to find out more about it here.
The Seminole Tribe Needs to Agree to Online Poker in Florida
Many in Florida currently view online poker in the same light as casino games, with the Seminole Tribe holding the monopoly. Whether online games or new tables in a commercial casino open, the state will need to reach an agreement with the tribe first.
However, changing gambling laws in Florida to allow online poker might be easier than people imagine. Many top poker players have emerged from the Sunshine State and many people there enjoy playing the game. Introducing and regulating online poker would allow players like these to safely enjoy the game they love without needing to go to potentially dangerous offshore websites to play.
New poker legislation is most likely to come about with other clauses to change casino gambling in Florida. You will be able to track any changes that arise on this page.
The Road to Playing Daily Fantasy Sports in Florida
While Florida does not completely outlaw daily fantasy sports, it does not regulate them either. DFS providers do offer their products here so players can opt to use FanDuel or DraftKings if they so wish to. However, LegalBetting cannot recommend this.
Since daily fantasy sports have a negative standing with the attorney general’s office in Florida, legislation might be quite a way off. Since the state does not regulate the games, it is better not to engage with these practices until the laws have changed. More and more states are choosing to legalize daily fantasy sports, including the Sunshine State’s neighbors. With pressure from these surrounding states, DFS might become a legal form of gambling in FL faster than we realize.
If the government announces any new legislation that would legalize daily fantasy sports in the Sunshine State, you will be able to find out more about it here.
Playing the State Lottery in Florida
Florida launched its lottery on January 12, 1988, following a referendum to amend the state constitution posed to the electorate in the general election of November 1986. The state’s lottery games include several daily draws that it broadcasts live throughout the state. Two jackpot drawings also take place twice a week. Players can also choose to play the multi-state Cash4Life, Mega Millions, or Powerball, with the latter having its headquarters in Tallahassee, Florida.
You must be 18+ to purchase a lottery ticket in FL. Players can buy tickets from retailers and terminals all around the state. Head to the official website to check the winning numbers and sign up for second chance draws and other opportunities.
Other Important Gambling Facts About Florida
The money raised from the Florida Lottery goes to the Education Enhancement Trust Fund. The state then distributes this fund to the public education system through the Florida Department of Education. It has given approximately $36 billion back to the state for educational projects since 1988. Such projects include the Bright Futures Scholarship Program, which has helped over 840,000 Floridian students in their college ambitions.
What’s Next for Gambling in Florida?
Though the legalization of gambling in Florida may seem at a standstill, there are still opportunities for expansion. If the state can properly regulate daily fantasy sports and sports betting, attention may turn to casino gambling and poker games with a fresh approach. The Sunshine State may have wider access to gambling faster than we believe.