Florida Sports Betting: Launch Paused – News & Updates (January, 2022)

Florida Online Sports Betting Has Been Halted

Florida

Florida sports betting is currently unavailable. Although Hard Rock Florida launched its online sportsbook product to the state in November of 2021, a later ruling put an immediate stop to online sports wagering in Florida.

Florida Sports Betting Update January 2022

Sports betting was made legal in Florida after the state legislature approved a new gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe in May 2021. On October 19, one of those hurdles was overcome when Florida District Judge Allen Winsor published a 20-page ruling that effectively dismissed a lawsuit brought by West Flagler Associates, the owner of two pari-mutuels in Florida. October 15 was the initial launch date for sports betting in Florida but was unable to be achieved.

However, on November 1st Hard Rock Sportsbook launched online for all of Florida. It became available for anyone in the state to download and register. Ultimately, Judge Dabney L. Friedrich ruled that the Florida gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, putting a total stop to Florida sports betting.

Florida Online Sportsbooks

At the time of launch, Hard Rock was the only sportsbook that provided online sports betting. This was due to the gaming compact signed between the Seminole Tribe (owners of Hard Rock), and the Florida Government. However, due to the compact’s violation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, Hard Rock sportsbook is no longer available in the Sunshine State.

Hard Rock Florida

The Hard Rock brand has exploded since the Seminole Tribe purchased it in 2007. Now, with the rise of sports betting in North America, Hard Rock has built out its own online and mobile sportsbook. The app was tested out in both New Jersey and Iowa prior to a temporary launch in Florida.

When it was available, Hard Rock Florida offered some solid promotions and the sportsbook product itself was high quality. The user interface for Hard Rock sportsbook is easy to use and bettors generally have a great user experience. There are support functions, and deposits are quick and easy. In general, the sportsbook offers everything that the major brands in the United States also offer.

Hard Rock Sportsbook Mobile App

Florida 2021 Sports Betting Bills Submitted

Florida sports betting is in limbo after making moves in 2021. Three different bills have entered the State legislature from the House, and the Senate looks primed to also be ready to make a push. The Sunshine State lies in an odd spot with the fact that the Seminole Gaming Tribe runs just about all the gambling in the area. A new compact agreed upon with Governor Ron DeSantis extended that power to all sports betting activities as well, but was later overruled.

Another interesting fact is that technically the Flordia residents have the final say in all casino gambling expansions. This means that there may have to be a vote to legalize sports gambling in the state. The specifics of this are currently being disputed as part of the lawsuits that are still pending in regards to Florida sports betting.

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2021 Bills Introduced

There have been three bills in the House that have been discussed and voted on in Florida. It is worth noting that there is no reference to the Seminole Tribe, who control the gambling scene in the Sunshine State.

HB 1317: Sports Wagering

HB 1317 was the first general bill and was introduced by Chip LaMarca, a Republican member of the Florida House. This bill would establish wagering on sporting events and set the general rules like requiring annual licenses, specifying legal wagers, and many other general outlining. This was the first key bill as it was the framework and actual legalization of sports betting in the state, although it died in April of 2021.

HB 1319: Taxes/Sports Wagering

HB 1319 was introduced by Anika Omphroy, a democratic member of the Florida House. This is a good display of the bipartisan support for sports gambling in the Sunshine State. This bill sets the tax rates as well as penalties for sports wagering within the state. It sets a massive 22.5% gross revenue tax rate on the sportsbook, which would be the highest in the country. HB1319 died in the regulatory reform subcommittee on April 30, 2021.

HB 1321: Fees/Sports Wagering

The final bill, HB 1321, was once again introduced by Chip LaMarca. This bill lists the application and licensing fees for sports wagering within Florida. The annual fee for a license would be $1,000,000. It is clear that Florida realizes how valuable the state can be for sportsbooks and has no fear of charging high fees and running a high tax rate in the state. HB1321 also died in the regulatory reform subcommittee on April 30, 2021.

The Next Step for Florida

The biggest obstacle preventing Florida from moving forward with authorizing online and sports gambling throughout the state is the Seminole Tribe. The current agreement in place gives the Seminole Tribe a monopoly on all casino card games, in particular games like Blackjack, Roulette, and Slots. If sports betting and other types of online betting become legal, it’s certain that the Seminole gaming industry would take a hit, and this has been a major concern among legislators throughout the state. The potentially harmful impact to the Seminole Tribe served as the catalyst for an expanded compact between the Tribe and Florida. The compact was agreed upon in May 2021 after the House and Senate approved it and Governor DeSantis signed off on it. However, Judge Friedrich later overruled the compact.

Florida is one of the most popular places for sports around the country with three NFL teams, two major league baseball teams, two NBA teams, and two NHL teams. Additionally, college football is even more popular with the Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, and Miami Hurricanes leading the way. Sports betting would be extremely popular in the state, and sportsbooks would benefit greatly should regulation be put in place.

Possible Online Sportsbooks

Just about every major sportsbook will be attempting to figure out a way to get a license in Florida. The state is relatively wealthy and has one of the largest populations at 21.48 million as of 2021. The state also houses tons of sports teams and collegiate programs.

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DraftKings Sportsbook

DraftKings is the current leader in sports betting. If online and mobile wagering becomes legal within the state, DraftKings will be entering. DraftKings started out only as a daily fantasy sports platform but has moved into both sports wagering and the online casino scene.

DraftKings has one of the very best mobile applications for sports betting. It is easy to use, there are tons of promotions, and the company has some of the best odds pricing in the game.

Currently, in states with legal DraftKings Sportsbooks, you can get a welcome bonus that includes a $1,000 deposit match bonus and a $50 free bet. The deposit match is a 1 to 5 match. So, $5,000 gets you the full $1,000 match.

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FanDuel Sportsbook

FanDuel Sportsbook is another large competitor in the United States’ market. FanDuel is another company that started off as an online fantasy platform. However, after Flutter Entertainment acquired the company, FanDuel became a massive sports wagering entity as well.

FanDuel may have the cleanest and best mobile and online experience when it comes to sports betting. Everything is easy to find, and there is no clutter on the site. The technology is simply superior to most online sportsbooks. There are also plenty of ongoing promotions. FanDuel also offers one-game parlays, something rare in the sports betting world.

Most experts expect FanDuel to continue to offer its classic welcome bonus of a $1,000 risk-free bet if it were to join the Florida betting market. This is a huge value, and you could potentially win a boatload of money without risking anything with this risk-free wager.

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BetMGM Sportsbook

BetMGM Sportsbook is the online application launched by MGM Resorts International and Entain. These two are major players in the gambling market throughout the world. MGM is renowned for being one of the biggest gambling and hospitality companies, while Entain is a staple in the online gaming scene.

BetMGM runs a fantastic sportsbook as well as an online casino and online poker platform. The sportsbook is known for being one of the most popular with its trusted name and good value. BetMGM offers one of the widest arrays of bets in the United States sports betting market.

BetMGM is projected to offer a $1,000 risk-free bet to Florida, as this is the welcome bonus available in all states that BetMGM runs its online sports betting platform in.

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Caesars Logo Icon 150x150Caesars Sportsbook

Caesars is one of the most reputable gaming companies in the United States and with its new mobile application for its Sportsbook, it figures to put its stamp on the growing sports betting industry. In April, Caesars acquired William Hill, a British bookmaker that currently operates as a legal and licensed sportsbook in several states. This partnership has yielded one of the best platforms in sports betting.

For those of you who like betting on European sports, Caesars is a great option. Not only does it have all the American sports wagers, but due to William Hill’s European roots, it has tons of bets for European soccer, Formula 1, European golf, and more available on its platform.

Caesars offers a $1,001 first bet match for new users in all states, and Florida will have access to this offer if Caesars Sportsbook launches in the state. Use our exclusive promo code “LINEUPSRF” to access this offer.

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PointsBet Sportsbook

PointsBet is an Australian bookmaker that also only operates in states that it is licensed in. In America, it is partnered with NBC Sports. The sportsbook is known for offering tons of different ways to wager, like using its invented PointsBetting system.

PointsBet not only offers tons of unique ways to wager, but it also has one of the best platforms available. The mobile app, as well as the desktop site, are designed beautifully and function very well. It is very easy to find the perfect wager for you on PointsBet.

PointsBet has one of the best welcome bonuses as it offers $2,000 worth of risk-free wagers for new users in states that it currently operates in.

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Florida Sports Betting Questions & Answers

Frequently Asked Questions

Will sports betting be legal in Florida?

Not at the moment. A gaming compact between the state and the Seminole Tribe was passed in the House and Senate and approved by Governor Ron DeSantis. However, despite a soft launch on November 1, 2021, sports betting was struck down due to a ruling by Judge Friedrich.

Is FanDuel sports betting legal in Florida?

FanDuel is watching the progress of legislation in the Florida legislation very closely. Like other sportsbook apps that seek to be a part of a potentially lucrative Florida betting market, FanDuel hopes to be legal when partnerships are offered with tribal casinos.

Is DraftKings sports betting legal in Florida?

DraftKings is not one of the legal sports betting options in Florida. In fact, until legislators address the concerns of the state’s tribal casino industry, there are no legal sports betting options written into Florida law for anyone inside the state’s borders.

What is the tax rate on online lottery winnings in Florida?

Like Texas, Florida is one of the six states in the country that does not assess an income tax. There is no official tax amount on any type of lottery winnings in Florida. However, all winnings above $5,000, online or retail, must be reported as income to the IRS.

What is the tax rate on sports betting in Florida?

There is a proposed tax rate for Florida sports betting of 15 percent. This would be administered as an excise tax on the total sportsbook handle. Sports betting by individuals is still illegal in the state. Winnings from outside sports bets would be taxed at the 24 percent federal amount.

Do Indian Tribes control betting in Florida?

Similar to the situation in California, the Native American Casinos have a stranglehold on the gambling industry in Florida. Many lawmakers envision a similar struggle when any debate reaches the floor in Tallahassee on how the sports betting landscape will unfold in the Sunshine State.

Who has the final say on gaming in Florida?

The residents of Florida actually have the final say on all gaming expansions in the state. This was following a vote where the voters gave themselves this power in Florida. This means that despite the tribal casino powers, the voters in the state have a significant say in the matter.

Can I play daily fantasy sports in Florida?

Yes, Florida has daily fantasy sports. There are several options, including Underdog, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo Daily Fantasy Sports, to play within the state. Daily and season-long fantasy sports are fully legal in Florida. The profit made from playing is taxable income.

Can I bet on casino games in Florida?

You can play at tribal casinos in Florida, but currently, there are no online casinos available in Florida. If Florida were to legalize sports gambling, it is also very likely that online casino games could follow and be legalized. Right now, only in-person casinos are legal.

What is the size of the Florida sports betting market?

The size of the Florida betting market could be massive. Many experts project a sports betting handle passing $2 billion a month in the state. However, seeing what New Jersey was able to do in 2020, passing $1 billion, this estimate may be considered conservative.

Hard Rock Florida Lawsuits

Hard Rock originally launched its online sportsbook product based on the Gaming Compact that the Seminole Tribe signed with the Governor’s Office. This 30-year agreement had seen several legal hurdles brought up following its enactment. Many, like Magic City Casino, argued that allowing sports betting outside of tribal land goes above and beyond the jurisdiction of the Gaming Compact. This is technically a federal lawsuit, that can have a major impact on mobile sports betting for the foreseeable future. 

There are other cases being fought at the district courts, which are technically federal courts. This Gaming Compact was eventually overruled, and sports betting is still not explicitly legal according to the Florida State legislature.  Many, like DraftKings and FanDuel, want to see a sports betting law put into place that would allow them entry into Florida to offer gaming activities.

Online Casino

Current Landscape in Florida

There are 26 gambling venues that currently operate in Florida. Most of these venues are racetracks, which are currently lobbying for the right to add slot machines at their facilities to enhance revenues. There are eight Native American casinos and two casino boats that pick up passengers and take wagers once the boats are offshore. Some of the Native American casinos offer both slot machines and table games, while others offer slots and video gaming. Simply stated, gambling in Florida is much more limited than it is in the Northeast as commercial casinos, and some forms of games are not permitted in the state. In addition to the casinos, there are live poker rooms as well as a vibrant horse racing industry.

Physical Casinos in Florida

Here is a list of some of the casinos that are currently operating in the state. There are also dozens of racinos available in the Sunshine State.

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Miccosukee Resort and Gaming Center

Address: SW 177th Ave, Miami, FL 33194
Phone: (305) 222-4600

Seminole Brighton Casino

Address: 17735 Reservation Rd, Okeechobee, FL 34974
Phone: (800) 360-9875

Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee

Address:506 S 1st St, Immokalee, FL 34142
Phone: (239) 658-1313

Seminole Casino Coconut Creek

Address: 5550 NW 40th St, Coconut Creek, FL 33073
Phone: (954) 977-6700

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood

Address: 1 Seminole Way, Davie, FL 33314
Phone: (866) 502-7529

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa

Address: 5223 Orient Rd, Tampa, FL 33610
Phone: (866) 388-4263

Seminole Classic Casino Hollywood

Address: 4150 N State Rd 7, Hollywood, FL 33021
Phone: (954) 961-3220

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Daily Fantasy Sports

Even DFS is a dicey proposition in Florida. There is a 1991 opinion from the state’s Attorney General stating that certain forms of fantasy sports would likely be illegal under state law. Nevertheless, DraftKings and FanDuel have taken the risk to remain in Florida, notwithstanding the possibility that offering these games could be illegal under Florida law. Yahoo has pulled out of the Florida market for its DFS offerings due to the legal risk. There have been several attempts to legalize DFS in the state, but each has fallen short. The tribal casinos have vigorously fought the legalization of DFS in Florida, claiming that it violates their rights to exclusivity in the Florida gaming market. Since DFS is not explicitly legal in Florida, there are no reports required, and it is difficult to tell the size of the DFS market in Florida. This scenario wouldn’t fly with sports betting. FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook nor Pointsbet sportsbook would enter the online sportsbook space without explicitly sports betting laws in place.

Previous Legislative Efforts

Efforts to legalize online gaming in Florida originate in 2011. There was a failed attempt to legalize online poker. The bill would have allowed card room operators to offer intrastate online poker. The bill was offered before Black Friday and was a means to offer consumer protection for gamblers who were betting on the national online poker sites. At the time, the Uniform Internet Gaming Enforcement Act was in effect, but the federal government had yet to crack down on online poker operators. The bill was referred to the subcommittee and was subsequently withdrawn. The bill was reintroduced in 2012 but similarly failed after opposition from the tribal casinos. Multiple efforts to expand gaming in various forms have all ended in failure.

Instead of expanding gaming, in 2013, Florida cut back on gambling in Florida, outlawing internet cafés that offered players the chance to enter contests in exchange for buying online time at the café. Some of these contests included online poker. The language of this legislation was incredibly broad and can be applied to many forms of gambling, increasing the uncertainty for those who offer and play certain games.

Florida law actually makes it illegal for residents to partake in unregulated gambling, such as offshore sports betting. Most state laws put the onus on operators who accept bets, but Florida also outlaws playing poker at an unregulated facility or over an unregulated device. Thus, it would be illegal for Florida residents to play online poker on an offshore platform. However, there have been no efforts to enforce the law against individual players.

November Ballot Initiative

The tribal casinos are very influential in the state, and they will likely have a say in the form that any future gaming expansion would take. The tribe has deep pockets and has not been reticent to expend large amounts of money to advance its interests. For the tribe, if the anti-gambling forces prevail, it will perpetuate its dominant position in the state’s gambling market. Gaming expansion was expected to take place with the gaming compact agreed upon between Governor Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe, but was later overruled, leaving the future murky for Florida sports wagering.

Sam Shefrin is the founder of Lineups.com, Inc. Before Lineups, he started Daily Fantasy Cafe, Inc. in 2014. Armed with a passion for sports and every Atlanta team, his journey continues with the goal of making Lineups a premier sports analytics destination. He has been quoted on Forbes.com for industry insight and his websites featured on NBATV, Yahoo! Sports, Fantasy Pros, Bleacher Report and SB Nation.