Florida Sports Betting 2021

Sports betting in Florida is on hold after a federal judge threw out the new compact between the Seminole Tribe and the state of Florida, ruling it violated federal law.

Read More
Read Less

A federal judge in late November ruled the new compact, which gave the Seminole Tribe exclusive control of sports betting in the Sunshine State, violated the Indian Regulatory Gaming Act (IRGA), putting a hold on online sports betting and gaming expansion in Florida.

The Seminole Tribe suffered another setback on December 3, when a Washington, D.C. appeals court denied its request for a temporary stay pending appeal. It is the second straight unfavorable ruling after the original request was denied by a federal judge on Thanksgiving. The tribe announced it was suspending sports betting operations on December 4 in the wake of the most recent ruling.

The tribe had launched the Hard Rock sports betting app at the start of November even despite the pending legal challenges. An issue was whether the 30-year compact, which guarantees $2.5 billion in payments to the state over the first five years, violates the Indian Regulatory Gaming Act (IRGA) and Florida law. The IRGA prohibits tribes from accepting wagers outside of reservation land. The online bets would be processed through computer servers located on tribal lands.

Amendment 3, approved in 2018, allows voters, not legislators, to determine the expansion of casino gambling in Florida. The state and Seminoles counter that Amendment 3 language applies to casino gambling, not legal sports betting in Florida.

Meanwhile, political committee Florida Education Champions, backed by DraftKings and FanDuel among others, filed a proposed 2022 constitutional amendment that would legalize statewide online sports betting and in-person wagering at Florida sports venues and pari-mutuel facilities. The amendment would circumvent the state’s new compact with the Seminoles and allow for more Florida sports betting operators.

For players looking to find the latest news on FL online sports betting and the state’s top wagering sites, Bookies.com can help. We provide updates and the latest developments on Florida sports betting and online gambling and rank and review all legal FL online sportsbooks.

Florida Sports Betting Legislation Updates 2021

December 4, 2021: The Seminole Tribe announced its suspending operations of its Hard Rock sportsbook app in the wake of the previous day's ruling.

December 3, 2021: A Washington, D.C. appeals court rejects the Seminole Tribe's request for a temporary stay pending appeal.

November 29, 2021: The Seminole Tribe asks a Washington, D.C. appeals court for a stay of the ruling. Politico reports the tribe is paying petition-gathering firms "more money than they would likely normally see in an election cycle" to "not work in Florida during the 2022 midterms" in order to block rival gaming companies from securing a constitutional amendment.

November 25, 2021: A federal judge refuses to grant a temporary hold on the ruling, which would have allowed the Seminole Tribe to continue to take bets. The tribe continues taking bets despite the ruling.

November 23, 2021: The Seminole Tribe moves to appeal the federal judge's ruling.

November 22, 2021: A federal judge rules the new gaming compact violates federal law, putting online sports betting and all gaming expansion (table games, in-person betting) on tribal lands on hold indefinitely. Her ruling barring a reversal upon appeal, means the only path to online betting would be an amendment.

November 17, 2021: All eyes remain on pending cases in DC, as a judge's ruling was expected any day that could pause Florida online sports betting.

November 5, 2021: A federal judge in DC heard arguments in a pair of lawsuits filed that opposed the Florida gaming compact allowing mobile sports betting.

November 1, 2021: Hard Rock Sportsbook launches its online app even as legal challenges loom, ushering in live Florida sports betting.

October 2021: Challenge by Magic City Casino and Bonita Springs Poker Room to Florida sports betting deal with Seminoles has hearing set for Nov. 5. They contend the tribe’s Class III gaming compact with the state goes against the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

September 28, 2021: A limited liability company, including Florida's No Casinos group, files a lawsuit against Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and the Department of the Interior. The suit is challenging Florida's new sports betting compact agreement with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The suit claims that the Department of the Interior perpetrated an unlawful federal agency action. Two of Miami’s most outspoken critics of betting in Florida, auto retailer Norman Braman and developer Armando Codina, are behind this suit.

August 17, 2021: A Florida company calling itself West Flagler Associates, representing Magic City Casino and Bonita Springs Poker Room, files suit against the Department of the Interior. Its suit is seeking to block implementation of online sports betting under the Florida tribal gaming compact. This group is expected to seek a temporary restraining order to halt the implementation of Florida online sports betting. A November 5 hearing is set to discuss his motion.

August 6, 2021: The US Department of the Interior grants permission for the Florida sports betting compact to be included in the Federal Register. While this doesn't officially approve the compact, it does enable it to proceed forward.

July 12, 2021: Sports betting giants DraftKings and FanDuel pledge $10 million to fund a ballot initiative for the 2022 election that would seek voter approval of Florida online sports betting.

June 24, 2021: Powerful US-based online sports betting sites DraftKings and FanDuel flex their muscle in a bid to move the needle on Florida online sports betting. Worried about a potential monopoly in Florida by the Seminole Tribe, they file a ballot initiative seeking to put statewide commercial Florida online sports betting on the ballot for the 2022 election.

June 7, 2021: Miami Beach mayor publicly Dan Gelber. urges the Department of the Interior to reject the negotiated state compact between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Gelber believes the compact is unconstitutional.

May 25, 2021: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs the state's new compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

May 19, 2021: Florida legislators in the State House give approval to the state's new compact with the Seminole Tribe.

May 18, 2021: Florida legislators in the State Senate give approval to the state's new compact with the Seminole Tribe.

April 23, 2021: Gov. Ron DeSantis reaches agreement on a new gaming compact with Florida's Seminole Tribe that opens the door to the legalization of Florida online sports betting.

December 29, 2020: Florida State Senator Jeff Brandes introduces SB392, a bill designed to legalize sports betting in the Sunshine State.

Florida Sports Betting History

  • 2021: In April, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis reaches agreement with the Florida's Seminole tribe on a new gaming compact that would enable Florida online sports betting. One month late, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs the new gaming compact with the Seminole tribe. June 2021: Major US-based sports betting companies FanDuel and DraftKings come together to file a ballot initiative to put approval of commercial Florida online sports betting to a vote during the November 2022 election. In August, Passive approval is given by the US Department of the Interior to include the Florida sports betting compact in the Federal Register.
  • 2020: The first attempt to create legal sports betting in Florida, Bill SB392, dies on the floor of the Florida legislature.
  • 2018: In a landmark ruling, the U.S .Supreme Court determines that the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act is unconstitutional. This decision paves the way potentially for legal sports betting in all 50 states.
  • 1935: Betting on jai-alai is legalized in the state.
  • 1931: Wagering on horse racing and dog racing is legalized by the Florida legislature.

Governor Ron DeSantis Legalizes Florida Sports Betting

Working in conjunction with the Seminole tribe, who control all legal forms of gambling in state other than pari-mutuel wagering, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was able to devise a plan that does an end run on both state and federal laws. Signing a new gaming compact with the Seminoles, DeSantis set in motion a plan that would see all Florida online sports betting wagers run through an internet hub on tribal land, assuming it survives a handful of legal challenges.

Florida Sports Betting Regulations

Under the Florida online sports betting regulations, a bettor must be at least 21 years of age in order to place a wager. All Florida online sports betting is to be made through servers situated on tribal land controlled by the Seminole tribe.

The Seminoles are also permitted to sign an agreement with an established online sports betting site and offer that product to the state's sports bettors. Retail sports betting will also be permitted at all tribal casino sites. Florida’s existing racetracks and jai-alai frontons are also permitted to develop their own mobile apps, as well as conducting off-reservation sports betting if they are working with the online sports betting site chosen by the tribe as its partners.

The Florida Gaming Control Board is in charge of regulating and licensing all forms of gambling in the state.

Florida Sports Betting Law

The new gaming compact signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Seminole tribe codified the following laws in terms of Florida online sports betting:

  • The Florida government grants exclusive rights to operate sports betting in the state to the Seminole tribe.
  • The state of Florida is to receive from the Seminole Tribe more than $6 billion over the next decade, with a guaranteed minimum of $2.5 billion dollars during the first five years of the agreement.
  • Pari-mutuels offering sports betting keep 60% of the proceeds, with 40% going to the Seminole tribe.
  • Betting on college sports will be permitted, including on the Florida State Seminoles and Florida Gators, although prop wagering will be prohibited.
  • Daily fantasy sports will also be legalized in the state as part of this deal.
  • The Tribe will pay a revenue share of 13.75% of sports betting. They will pay a revenue share of 10% on all sports betting through pari-mutuel partners.
  • The legal gambling age for sports betting in Florida is 21.

Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Florida?

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an amended compact with the Seminole Tribe in May 2021 that legalizes online and retail sports wagering. But the compact still must be approved by the U.S. Department of Interior and survive already-filed legal challenges before it can be implemented.

Under the new compact, the Seminole Tribe, which controls casino gambling in Florida, will have exclusive rights to Florida sports betting and serve as the hub for online sports wagering in exchange for payments of at least $500 million per year. Though the Indian Regulatory Gaming Act prevents wagering from outside reservations, all online bets would be processed through computer servers located on tribal lands.

The compact allows for the Seminoles to contract with other sportsbook brands and Florida pari-mutuel operators, which would receive 60% of sports betting revenue, with 40% going to the tribe. It’s unclear how many national operators will want to partner with the tribe under the terms of that arrangement.

Political committee Florida Education Champions, backed by donations from national operators, DraftKings sportsbook and FanDuel sportsbook, has introduced an alternative plan – a proposed 2022 constitutional amendment that would legalize Florida online sports betting and in-person wagering at sports venues and pari-mutuel facilities.

The courts are likely to have the final say. If the amended compact with the Seminoles is implemented, Florida legal sports betting could start as early as October 2021.

Benefits of Legal Online Sports Betting in FL

In states that allow both mobile and in-person sports betting, the vast majority of wagers are placed online. The convenience factor is hard to beat, with no need to drive long distances to a casino or sportsbook. Mobile wagering in Florida would be available 24/7 with the touch of a smartphone or tablet from the comfort of your home or anywhere inside the state.

Are Mobile Sports Betting Apps Available in Florida?

FL betting apps certainly will be available if online sports gambling in FL becomes a reality. Once Florida mobile sports betting is authorized, operators will roll out multi-functional, state-of-the-art sportsbooks apps that will allow bettors to do anything on their smartphone that they could on their home computer, including wagering, deposits and withdrawals, and claiming bonus offers. Every FL sports betting app will be available for iOS and Android devices and free to download.

Bonuses & Promotions at FL Sports Betting Sites.

Should FL sports betting sites launch, new customers will be the recipients of a host of great welcome offers, promotions, and bonuses as every online sportsbook will be competing for their business.

Among the welcome bonuses sure to be available are deposit matches, in which the FL sportsbook would match your first deposit up to 100%; or a risk-free first bet, where the operator will refund your first bet up to a certain dollar amount as a bet credit should your initial wager lose.

FL online sportsbooks, if they follow what is being done in the rest of the country, will also have a host of promotions for existing players, including odds boosts, free bets, and more.

Florida Land-Based Sportsbooks & Locations

Casino County Sports Betting Partner Launch Date
Seminole Casino Brighton Okeechobee Hard Rock TBD
Seminole Casino Immokalee Collier Hard Rock TBD
Seminole Casino Coconut Creek Broward Hard Rock TBD
Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood Broward Hard Rock TBD
Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Hillsborough Hard Rock TBD
Seminole Classic Casino Broward Hard Rock TBD

FL sportsbooks could also operate at pari-mutuel facilities that partner with the Seminole Tribe. The pari-mutuel facilities would keep 60% of sports betting revenue, with 40% paid to the tribe.

Florida Online Sportsbooks

Among the Florida online sportsbooks most likely to launch:

HardRock Sportbook

Hard Rock Sportsbook

Hard Rock, owned by the Seminole Tribe, is the clear winner if the state’s amended gaming compact survives all legal challenges. Hard Rock sportsbook would own exclusive online rights to sports betting to Florida, though it could contract with other online operators and pari-mutuel facilities. Hard Rock operates online sportsbooks in three states, including national wagering leader New Jersey.

Draftkings Sportsbook

DraftKings Sportsbook

DraftKings sportsbook is among the market leaders in every state in which it operates. That would likely not be the case for DraftKings in Florida under the revised compact with the Seminoles. So DraftKings, FanDuel and others are backing a proposed 2022 constitutional amendment that would allow for more online platforms and in-person Florida sports betting locations.

DraftKings

Bet $1 Get $100 special plus 20% Deposit Bonus up to $1,000

Bet Now
Fanduel Sport

FanDuel Sportsbook

Is in the same position as rival DraftKings, with no preferred path in Florida if the Seminole Tribe is granted exclusive rights. Like DraftKings, FanDuel sportsbook has transitioned from daily fantasy sports provider to dominant sports betting site with a player-friendly app and plenty of FanDuel promotions.

FanDuel

Risk Free Bet up to $1,000
To Claim: Click Bet Now

Bet Now
Caesars Sportsbook

Caesars Sportsbook

Iconic gambling brand is aggressively expanding online, and its recent purchase of global sportsbook giant William Hill makes Caesars more accessible than ever. Caesars sportsbook already operates in the Florida market as owner of Isle Casino Pompano Park, a racino in Broward County.

Caesars

First Bet Match Up To $1,001 Plus Bet $100 Get an NBA Jersey - Promo Code: BOOKIES

Bet Now
TwinSpires Sportbook

TwinSpires Sportsbook

Owned by Churchill Downs Inc., which operates Calder Casino, a former racetrack-turned-casino in south Florida. TwinSpires sportsbook operates sports betting operations in several states. The sportsbooks were formerly known as BetAmerica, then rebranded in 2021 to the more well-known TwinSpires name.

Types of Sports Bets Offered in Florida

All of the most popular sports bets will be available in Florida, including point spread bets, moneyline wagers, parlays, totals and in-game betting. Wagering will be available on pro, International and college sports, including college games involving Florida-based teams. Wagering on college proposition bets will be prohibited.

What Sports Leagues Can I Bet On in Florida?

Wagering will be permitted on all the major sports leagues. Among them:

  • Football: NFL, NCAA
  • Basketball: NBA, WNBA, NCAA
  • Baseball: MLB
  • Hockey: NHL
  • Soccer: MLS, English Premier League, Bundesliga, etc.
  • Motorsports: NASCAR, IndyCar, F1
  • Golf: PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, etc.
  • Tennis: ATP, WTA
  • Mixed Martial Arts: UFC

When Can I Play Daily Fantasy Sports in Florida?

All of the major daily fantasy sports providers, including DraftKings and FanDuel, operate in Florida. The state has no specific laws that legalize or ban daily fantasy sports contests and has not taken a stance to oppose it. A bill that would formally legalize daily fantasy sports in Florida failed to make it through the 2021 legislative session.

How to Sign up and Place a Sports Bet in Florida

If Florida online sports betting launches, the sign-up process will be simple:

  1. Select your Florida online sportsbook(s) of choice. Bettors must be 21 or older to participate.
  2. Register to create an account. You will be asked to provide some personal information such as name, address, email address, date of birth, phone number and last four digits of Social Security number (to verify identity). You will also be asked to create a username and password.
  3. Once your account is created, you can deposit funds by a variety of methods, including Play+, e-wallet, credit/debit card, prepaid card or electronic banking. When the funds appear in your account balance, you are ready to wager. All bets will have to be placed inside the state of Florida.

How We Pick the Best FL Sport Betting Sites

Bookies.com only recommends legal and safe Florida betting sites that are properly licensed and regulated. Our methodology takes several key factors into consideration, including mobile sports betting app, odds, pricing, quality of bonus offers, payment options and overall mobile experience. We do not recommend offshore-based operators, which lack proper regulation and offer no consumer safeguards. A FL sportsbook will only make our list if it scores well in the following areas.

How are FL Sports Betting Sites Regulated?

The Seminole Tribe is required to comply with the rules and regulations adopted by the National Indian Gaming Commission. Under the amended compact, the State Compliance Agency is authorized to resolve disputes if it believes the Seminole Tribe has failed in any way to comply with the requirement for Florida sports betting. The compact also authorizes a five-member Florida Gaming Commission to oversee gambling operations outside of tribal lands.

FL Sports Betting Sites Reputation

DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM and Caesars are among the most popular online sports betting platforms because of their reputation. Several others are worthy of consideration, too. Players want a FL sports betting website that has a solid history of safety with bettors, provides strong customer service and will fairly resolve any potential dispute.

Accessibility

Your FL online sportsbook should provide easy and convenient access to wagering and odds via mobile app or online site. In states that also allow online casino gambling, accessing the sportsbook should be just as easy as accessing the casino.

Reliability

The top Florida sports betting platforms will reliably offer betting lines on the games you want at fair prices. Deposits and withdrawals should be processed promptly and without hassle.

Site and Mobile Experience

In nearly all states that allow both mobile and in-person wagering, more than 80% of sports bets are placed online. That means the mobile experience is crucial. Your Florida sportsbook app and online site should be player-friendly and easy to navigate on any smartphone, mobile device or computer.

Generous and Ongoing Sports Bet Bonuses

Nearly all mobile sports operators provide some form of sign-up bonus offer, but some are more lucrative than others. Bonuses vary significantly in playthrough requirements – the number of times the bonus money must be wagered before it’s eligible to be redeemed. Some operators may also provide bonus offers to existing players. Additionally, FL sportsbook promos should be plentiful.

Payment Options

Florida online sportsbooks are expected to offer a wide variety of options to fund your account. The most popular are credit/debit cards, Play+, e-wallets such as PayPal and Neteller, electronic banking, e-checks and PayNearMe.

Variety of Games to Bet On

Variety of sports, menu of games and in-game wagering are all ways in which Florida sports betting sites can stand out. It’s easy to find betting lines on the four major U.S. sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL), but which operators offer a decent selection of lines on niche and international sports? Similarly, the difference in the number of live in-game betting opportunities varies widely, ranging from a handful to several hundred per game.

Better Odds

Finding the best odds and prices on the games you want is among the keys to sports betting success. Signing up at more than one Florida online sportsbook gives bettors a chance to shop and compare odds. Prices on moneyline wagers matter – the more vigorish bettors pay, the harder it is to consistently earn profits.

Deposits and Withdrawals

The top Florida online sportsbooks will provide plenty of options for both. Fees on deposits vary, with credit/debit cards usually highest. Several deposit methods transfer funds into your account instantaneously or within minutes.

Payout Process

Withdrawals can be requested at any time and generally require a 24-48 hour approval process. Using the same method for withdrawals as deposits generally works best, though credit/debit cards is usually not a withdrawal option.

Security at Online Sportsbooks in Florida

If your wagers aren’t safe and secure, what’s the point? It’s important to choose a Florida sportsbook that is properly licensed and regulated and will protect your account and data with the same level of encryption technology used by major financial institutions. Players can also take steps to keep their accounts more secure. Rest assured that FL sports betting online will be secure if you go with a legal and regulated site.

Top Florida Sports Teams to Bet On

Florida has plenty of professional and college sports teams to bet on.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars

The Bucs, after acquiring quarterback Tom Brady, are the defending NFL Super Bowl champions. The Dolphins are the oldest pro sports franchise in the state and remain the only team in NFL history to complete an undefeated perfect season (1972). The Jaguars were the NFL’s worst team in 2020, but the arrival of coach Urban Meyer and No. 1 overall draft pick Trevor Lawrence could lead to a turnaround.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The two-time defending Stanley Cup champions are the most dominant team in the NHL and haven’t experienced a losing season since 2012-13. They’ve overshadowed their in-state rival Florida Panthers, who have won a playoff series in only one season since joining the NHL.

Miami Heat

The Heat won the NBA Finals in 2006 and then again in 2012 and 2013 with the "Big Three" of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The Heat surprisingly reached the NBA Finals again in 2020 after acquiring All-Star guard Jimmy Butler. Florida’s other NBA team, the Orlando Magic, have just one winning season since 2012.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays advanced to the World Series in 2020 and have established themselves as a formidable American League East contender alongside the more high-profile New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. The Miami Marlins of the National League East won the World Series in 1997 and 2003, but they’ve had just seven winning seasons, the fewest among MLB franchises.

University of Florida/Florida State/University of Miami

College football will be a huge betting market in Florida and wagering on games involving in-state teams likely will be allowed. The University of Florida, Florida State and Miami are all high-profile profile programs that have combined to win 11 national football championships. The Gators also won back-to-back national titles in basketball.

Responsible Gambling

The agreement with the Seminole Tribe continues the provisions of the 2010 compact which limits gaming at tribal facilities in Florida to anyone 21 or older. The tribe is required to make an annual donation of $250,000 per operational gaming facility to the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling.

Professional help and counseling services to treat problem gambling are available through state and national agencies, including the National Problem Gambling Helpline, Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling and Florida Department of Health.

Sports Betting Florida FAQs

Is Online Sports Betting legal in Florida?

No. Despite a compact with the Seminole Tribe that legalizes Florida online sports betting was approved by state lawmakers and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, a federal judge ruled the compact violated federal law by allowing online sports betting off tribal lands. The Seminole Tribe is appealing but lost several motion's to stay the ruling, so it halted operations on the Hard Rock sportsbook app on Dec. 4, 2021.

When will Online Sports Betting be available in Florida?

Florida sports betting began Nov. 1, 2021, but the amended compact between the state and Seminole Tribe was thrown out by a federal judge, putting sports betting in limbo.

Will I need to be a Florida resident to bet online?

No. But bettors will need to be physically located inside the state to place a legal wager.

How will an online sportsbook know my location?

Through geofencing technology, which accurately tracks the location of bettors. Wagers made from outside the state are automatically denied access.

Are Daily Fantasy Sports legal in Florida?

Florida has no specific daily fantasy sports laws, so DFS operates in a gray area. All of the major DFS providers (DraftKings, FanDuel, etc.) operate in Florida and the state has not opposed it. A bill to formally legalize DFS in the state was introduced in 2021 but failed to advance.

Are Florida sports betting sites safe?

FL online betting sites that are properly licensed and regulated will be safe. Players should avoid offshore sports betting sites, which lack regulation and may abruptly shut down at any time.

What do I need to create an online sports betting account in Florida?

Bettors must be 21 or older to set up a Florida online sports betting account. They also must provide some basic and personal information to register, such as name, address, phone number and last four digits of their Social Security number (to verify identity and age) and create a username and password.

Do Florida online casinos have sports betting?

Online casinos are not legal in Florida.

About the Author

Chet Fussman for Bookies.com
Chet Fussman
Chet Fussman is a former horse racing writer and longtime sports editor of the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville is a poker and blackjack player and frequent sports bettor.