Florida is home to many betting options both on the internet and in the real world. Legal online gambling in Florida now includes horse racing betting, greyhound betting and daily fantasy sports. In the physical world, Florida has horse racing betting, bingo, traditional casinos and jai alai betting.
Sports gambling in Florida doesn’t seem likely at the moment. The state has long been eyed as a major potential market for sports betting, but modifications to state law have made any future gaming expansions harder as they now take a statewide referendum initiated by request.
Legal Online Betting Options
Let us start with a quick collection of legal Florida betting sites and dig into every detail below.
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Horse and Greyhound Betting:
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Horse and Greyhound Racing
Online horse racing and greyhound gambling have been legal in Florida for years and a number of major racing sites accept customers from the Sunshine State. BetAmerica, TwinSpires and TVG all accept Florida clients and are licensed right here in the United States.
In November 2018, Florida voters approved Amendment 13 to end greyhound racing. The change created greyhound racing and betting on live greyhound races held in Florida illegal starting on January 1st, 2021.
Present racetracks will nevertheless be permitted to offer poker and other games after the change takes effect, however they will no longer be in a position to sponsor live greyhound races. This modification has no effect on online greyhound racing, which will stay legal because the change 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 sites have served the state for decades with no hindrance from officials.
A number of attempts to officially legalize fantasy sports in Florida have collapsed over the decades because of disputes on how the action should be categorized and the complexity of tribal gambling 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lumped season-long fantasy sports in with gaming and opined it is most likely illegal under state law, but the view is outdated and does not maintain legal weight. As much as lawmakers want to clarify the legal standing of fantasy sports, progress has been slow. In the meantime, Florida residents are approved at both FanDuel and DraftKings:
Florida gambling law permits games of ability only if entrance fees do not directly lead to the prize pool. What this signifies is that it’s legal to pay an entry fee and compete for a fixed prize, but to not play at a competition where all the entry fees are collected to form the prize pool itself.
For example, it would be lawful to host a paid-entry golf championship if the organizers place fixed prizes which don’t change regardless of how many people enter the championship. The exact same tournament could cross the line into illegal land if prizes were determined by pooling entry charges and paying the winners a percentage of the prize pool.
A 1990 opinion from the Attorney General summed it up as follows:
“Thus, I am of the view that a contest of skill, like a hole-in-one golf contest, in which the contestant pays an entrance fee, which doesn’t constitute the decoration, for the opportunity to win a valuable prize by the practice of skill, doesn’t violate the gambling laws of this nation. To the extent that previous opinions of the office might be inconsistent with the conclusion reached herein, they are hereby modified.”
WorldWinner.com, that is now the largest skill gaming website, accepts residents of Florida but restricts them from particular contests where the prize pool isn’t fixed. Follow the link below to read more about WorldWinner:
What about the state lottery?
Florida DOES NOT sell tickets online nor does it offer a subscription service. Obviously, you could always try your luck at unauthorized lottery resellers that you can discover online. I don’t suggest going that path though. It is still illegal to sell lottery tickets on the internet from Florida so any site involved in the business is completely unregulated and most likely located abroad.
Nobody really knows how secure or legit overseas lottery resellers are. They claim to have a team of agents located around the globe whose job it is to go about and buy lottery tickets on behalf of customers. The issue is there is no way to confirm how it really works.
If you would like to play the lottery, it is ideal to just go buy your tickets in person. You truly don’t want to leave the destiny of your own $40 million dollar in the hands of some foreign, quasi-legal website. States do have the authority to sell tickets online, but Florida does not yet do this.
Sports Betting in Florida
Sports gambling is illegal for besides two 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 a time in Florida during which jai alai was much larger than the vague sport it’s today. Jai alai came to Florida in the 1920s, and the state turned into somewhat of an epicenter for jai alai players across the world because of warm weather year-round and easy access from Spain and Latin America, where jai alai is a favorite.
During its heyday, jai alai was even exempted from state and federal sports betting prohibitions. Jai alai maintained a strong presence in Florida through the 1970s but entered a steady decrease from the 1980s amid increasing 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 active frontons in operation now. For the most part, jai alai survives now primarily due to Florida gaming laws that need card rooms to offer some kind of parimutuel wagering (for instance, jai alai, greyhound racing or horse racing betting). Therefore, most jai alai frontons exist chiefly to facilitate different forms of gaming.
Another”exception” into Florida’s sports betting prohibition occurs on the cruise ships operated by Victory Casino Cruises. Victory Casino Cruise ships leave twice each day out of Port Canaveral. These ships sail into international waters, open a casino and sportsbook for a couple hours and then come back to shore later the exact same day.
As far as a widespread legalization of sports gambling, Florida doesn’t appear likely to expand its gaming choices anytime soon. There have been no attempts to present sports betting legislation and there haven’t been any recent efforts to legalize sports betting.
A report from Eilers & Krejcik Gambling recorded the 32 states likely to legalize sports gambling within five decades of a Supreme Court ruling overturning the federal prohibition of sports betting. Florida wasn’t included in that list, but it was contained in a supplemental list of all 12 additional states likely to legalize sports gambling within seven years of such a judgment.
Can Sports Betting Ever Be Legalized at Florida?
Apart from the exceptions detailed above, sports betting remains prohibited in Florida and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. Florida has a complex mix of competing interests between lawmakers, Tribal concerns as well as the Disney business that all have their own comments on the growth of gambling.
The odds of Florida legalizing sports betting any time soon took a hit in 2018 when voters approved a ballot measure that basically stripped off the state legislature from authorizing any gambling expansion, including sports gambling.
Previously, the state legislature could have possibly drafted a new law to create Florida sports gambling legal. Under the new amendment, Florida citizens would have to initiate a campaign to gather signatures to put the issue to a statewide referendum. Subsequently, Republicans would need to accept that referendum by 60 percent to earn sports betting legal. It’s possible, but not too likely at this time.
Is it lawful to wager online in Florida?
It depends on what your definition of”lawful” is. A few forms of online betting are specifically legal in Florida (horses, greyhounds, fantasy and ability ). It is obviously illegal to run an internet casino, card room or any other company that accepts wagers without the proper licensing.
What is not clear is whether or not it is a crime to place bets online at unlicensed gaming sites. The main text in Florida’s gambling laws reads as follows:
“849.08 Gambling. Whoever plays or engages in any game , keno, roulette, faro or other game of chance, at any place, by any device whatever, to get money or other thing of value, will be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second level…”
It appears fairly clear that this law makes it a misdemeanor crime to take part in obvious gaming games like slot machines, blackjack, craps and so forth. The part that states”by any device whatever” is easily translated to incorporate the internet. However, the state hasn’t prosecuted a single person for the mere act of placing bets online. Hunting down people playing blackjack in their computers just is not a priority.
Internet poker is a different matter. The above law does not explicitly cite”poker” although it does say”any game .” But — there is always a however — that the term”other game of chance” appears to suggest that only games of chance have been prohibited. If poker isn’t a game of chance, this law does not apply.
It doesn’t end there, folks. You and that I may not consider poker a game of chance, but certain state and federal laws most certainly do define poker as exactly 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 need to push the matter before we ever get Florida’s opinion on the matter of poker being ability or luck. This probably will not happen anytime soon because nobody is hunting down poker players .
What the Future Holds for Internet Gambling in Florida
A growing number of states are in the process of legalizing online casino and poker games after a federal judge ruled in 2011 that the Wire Act of 1961 only applies to sports gambling. Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey have already legalized internet poker, casino games or both. State legislators in Florida have not yet moved to change anything. No legislation is pending at this time.
It does not seem like anything will be changing in Florida any time soon . The country is largely opposed to the expansion of online gambling. Back in April of 2014, Florida governor Rick Scott expressed his opposition to expanding online gambling at the federal level with a letter directed to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.
In the years since, there have been no real attempts to alter Florida gaming laws. The present status quo appears quite likely to stay as it is for the near future.
Read more: sportscoverage.net