- Florida Sports Betting remains illegal
- Offshore Sports Betting remains legal
- Changes to the law are stuck in neutral
- The road to legalization is fraught with litigation danger
Welcome to your Florida Sports Betting Guide! We provide you with the current gambling environment, discuss the difficulties of legalizing sports betting in Florida, what will it take to become legalized and where to play in the mean time.
If you are looking to join in on the sports betting action then read on!
Top 3 Florida Sportsbook Sites
Across the four most populous states in the US – California, Texas, Florida and New York – making changes to legalizing sports betting laws within their states are stalling. Stalling due to the strength of opposition by native American tribes with the stance of exclusivity via Compact’s.
Here in Florida, the Seminole Tribe operates seven casinos across the state. They are a very powerful organization, with much clout in the political landscape. They have a Compact with the Federal Government which they claim offers exclusivity to sports betting.
To explain further the concept of a Compact, many native American tribes that operate casinos often have a Compact with the Federal Government. A Compact is a contractual agreement which outlines terms and conditions of operating a casino for Class III gaming per the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).
Without going into much detail, the IGRA classifies gaming into three classes – I, II and III. Of the three classes it is Class III – which is mostly Las Vegas Style gaming – which there can be specific reference to as to whether the gaming can be allowed or not.
The Seminole Tribe have a Compact with the Federal Government to operate Class III gaming. Whether or not Class III gaming includes sports betting has yet to be challenged in court, however, it is their stance that it does.
The State believes otherwise and argues that Class III gaming does NOT include sports betting. As a result sports betting should be made legally available to other entrants outside of native American tribes.
Consequently, no middle ground has been able to be reached between the Seminole Tribe and the State.
Thus, in 2020, the State is attempting to by-pass negotiations with the Seminole Tribe, and enter the sports betting market via the State owned lottery.
In my opinion, proceeding in this fashion is fraught with danger. The only winners are the lawyers, who will make a motza – Aussie slang for “lots of $$$” – from litigation fees.
Florida Sports Betting Legislation
Florida has raised three sports betting bills:
- SB 968: Sports Wagering
- SB 970: Fees/Licenses Relating to Sports Wagering
- SB 972: Taxes/Sports Wagering
These bills can be summarized as follows:
- Sports betting is to be conducted by the State lottery.
- Each sports betting operator must apply for a license to be issued by the State lottery.
- Each license is $100,000.
- License sports betting operators would be required to pay a tax of 15% on turnover.
- License sports betting operators are permitted to offer online betting.
If these bills were to be legally passed, in my opinion, a legal storm will come in a hurry.
Florida Online Sports Betting
Unbeknownst to many, online sports betting has been occurring for many years. Florida sports betting turnover for 2019 was $61 million, wagered via online sport betting sites. These online sport betting sites are offshore and are open accept US players.
Is this illegal?
It is a gray area. The current state laws do not clearly articulate whether gambling offshore online is illegal or not. Therefore, you will find many online sports books (and online casinos) accepting US players from states that have ambiguous gambling laws – Florida is one of those states.
Is it dangerous?
There are two aspects to this question.
Firstly, will you get caught or fined?
I highly doubt it. Till this day, there has been no precedence of anyone being charged with breaking the law for playing at offshore online sports betting books or offshore online casinos.
Secondly, are offshore sports betting books trustworthy and reliable?
Very much so. They have been operating in the market for many years and sports betting is a clear cut outcome (when compared to online casino games). It’s therefore extremely difficult to argue that an outcome of a sports bet is wrong.
How can I find an online Sports Book?
The most popular offshore sports book is Bovada. It is the largest and has a long standing history of operating a sports book for US citizens.
Do NOT place a bet at an unlicensed sports book operating offshore. Unlicensed sportsbooks may not be reliable. Although they may offer great Welcome Bonuses, their promise to pay any winnings may be empty. Keep with the which are trusted and the big brand names.
How can I place a Sports Bet onshore?
It is illegal to run a sports book or place a sports bet within the borders of Florida. Other than placing a sports bet at an offshore online sports book the only other option is to travel interstate where sports betting has been legalized.
Popular Florida Sport Bets
Florida is lucky to have many local professional sport teams. But unlucky because sports betting has yet to be legalized.
The four major sports in the US, are all represented in the state of Florida with a team.
Sports Betting NFL
Florida has three NFL football teams, the Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Jacksonville Jaguars showed a lot more fight in the 2019 season, than their disastrous 2018 campaign. The highlights of the season included their pick up of rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew who played a great first season. Second year DJ Chark has surprised many after an extremely quiet rookie season. He has blossomed into an offensive juggernaut grabbing 73 receptions for 1,008 yards including eight touchdowns. Their 2020 season shows a lot of promise if they can get all players to gel together.
The Dolphins led the 2019 league ladder – at the bottom. Having one of the worst records in 2019 they are going through a “rebuild” phase – perhaps more like a “knock down rebuild”. They need to revamp the whole roster, and find players that they can build a future on.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a great 2019 season solidifying and grooming their young players. Though they missed the playoffs, finishing the season with 7-9 a win loss record, given the roster they had, many would agree it’s not a bad result.
Looking forward 2020, if they are able to retain Shaquil Barrett, who had a fantastic year, they can build a foundation of strong defense. Also Chris Godwin had a break out 2019 season, if he can keep up his excellent play for 2020, this will put the Buccaneers in good stead.
The future is bright for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Sports Betting NBA
Florida has two NBA basketball teams, the Miami Heat and the Orlando Magic.
In the past decade the Miami Heat had great success when Pat Rilely was installed as Head coach followed by team President. The Heat’s first NBA Championship arrived in 2006, when Dwyane Wade teamed up with Shaquille ONeal. Together they were an unstoppable force forcing teams to either choose focusing on defending one or the other.
Their second and third consecutive titles came when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh formed the Big Three. And who can forget the Ray Allen back pedalling three in 2013 against the Spurs, that eventually led to the second consectuve championship.
In the 2019/2020 season the Heat are surprising many pundits who thought they would be bottom of the league cellar dwellers. Proving them wrong, they sit comfortably third in the Eastern Conference during the mid season.
If you had bet on them to win many of their games, you would be a happy camper, for not many would have predicted that!
It feels like only yesterday when Penny Hardaway and Shaquille ONeal teamed up to form one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Following their departures, came superstars Tracy McGrady and Dwight Howard. Though great they were, the closest the Magic have come to winning an NBA Championship was back in the Penny and Shaq heyday.
Today, the team is sitting just inside the top eight of the Eastern Conference for the 2019/2020 season.The shining light for this season is the turnaround of confidence and play making abilities of Markelle Fultz. Having suffered a bizarre injury during his rookie season, his play has not lived up to the hype of his number 1 draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. Traded to the Magic in his third year, his confidence is slowly returning, giving a spark off the bench.
Sports Betting MLB
Florida has two Major League baseball teams, the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays.
Who are the Miami Marlins? This is probably a question posed even by the most stalwart of baseball fans. The Marlins have the lowest number of fan at just under 1 million, and accordingly the team is the lowest valued baseball team in the league. Contributing to their lack in popularity has been their poor play. Consistently languishing at the bottom of the table, isn’t conducive to building a loyal fan base.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays began life in the league going through a decade of being at the bottom, however after a change in ownership in 2006, the Tampa Bay Rays have managed to make the play offs 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2019.
2019 was quite a successful year which therefore resulted in a few surprising changes in the off season, in particular the letting go of Tommy Pham and the acquisition of Yoshi Tsutsugo from Japan.
Florida Daily Fantasy Sports
DFS in Florida remains illegal because it is classed in the same category as traditional sports. Should sports betting become legal so too does DFS. As such, there are no DFS operators in this State.
Is DraftKings available in Florida?
DraftKings does not accept any players from Florida. It remains illegal to participate in Daily Fantasy Sports for real money.
Horse Race Betting and Tracks
Horse racing is extremely popular in Florida, bucking the trend of other US States where operators are struggling to draw in customers. It’s hard to pin point why Florida horse racing flourishes, however it may be attributed to the beautiful weather and vicinity to beautiful coastal surroundings.
We review a few of the most popular race tracks in the State.
Hialeah Park Racing & Casino
2200 E 4th Ave, Hialeah, Florida
The race track cum casino is stunning. As you arrive at the course you are greeted with a very grand entrance. The race track is massive as it the casino, which has slot and video machines indoors and outdoors. The staff go above and beyond to keep the premises as clean as possible. Steeped in history, the track began in 1922 as a greyhound but switching to horse in 1925.
Tampa Bay Downs
11225 Race Track Rd, Tampa, Florida
Tampa Bay Downs has got all the gaming for any player. Card, races and poker. Unfortunately, no slot machines are available. The race course is lovely, and the watching the races is extremely thrilling. Fine dining is available, and a golf course is nearby. Neat as a pin, but could do with a slight refresher. The establishment is over 90 years old!
Gulf Stream Park Racing & Casino
901 Federal Hwy, Hallandale Beach, Florida
This place is huge. A race track, shopping, find dining, casual dining, casino betting – what more would you want. You will never get bored here. Enjoy being up close and personal with the horses, play a game or two at the casino table games, have fun at the night clubs and bars. Plenty of on-site parking is available.
Overview of Florida Sports Bars
Florida has plenty of sports bars that have quality sport viewing screens, cold ice beer and easy to eat comfort food. We cannot cover them all, but provide a review of the most popular ones for you.
Sports Bars in Florida
868 South Federal Hwy, Pompano Beach, Florida
Brendan’s is one of the best Sports Bars at Pompano beach. Order the fish and chips at Brendan’s and you can’t go wrong. Super fresh and the best sauce to dip your fish and chips into. They have card games, and weekly / monthly tournaments., darts and a few slot machines to the side. Live music on Saturdays, and the occasional DJ on weekdays. Nice little joint to hang out at and watch your favorite sports.
900 Silks Run building 1720, Hallandale Beach, Florida
A real nice family friendly sports bar to go to. Super great service, whether it’s for a chat, eating, cleanliness, quality time, you name it, this is a sports bar to goes above and beyond. The staff here is really what makes this place special. Also, lots of viewing screens to watch all your sports.
Pool tables and slot machines available. Can place a few bets on the horses. Lot’s of people come for the Friday night salsa to dance into the early hours of the night. Overall, you will love this place.
3026 W New Haven Ave, West Melbourne, Florida
There are two people that makes this sports bar special and it is Lexy the bartender and Steven the cook. Everyone loves Lexy, the best coolest, and fun loving bar tender around. If you need a place to chill and just watch sport that come here and chat with Lexy. The food cooked by Steven ain’t shabby either. In fact, it is awesome! Plus this place isn’t overly pricey. A not so big sports bar, with great quality food and service. They also have pool tables, darts and slot machines to the side.
- The State is attempting to by-pass negotiations with the Seminole Tribe and operate sports betting through the State’s lottery.
- The Seminole Tribe are claiming gambling exclusivity which includes sports betting.
- The Seminole Tribe is currently in a legal stoush with the State and is not forwarding any taxes.