Florida Online Gambling

Latest news on sports betting, online casinos and gambling in Florida

Florida is known for its warm weather, world-class beaches and family-friendly amusement parks.

However, the state is also one of the largest gambling markets in the country. The Sunshine State offers casino games, horse racing, daily fantasy sports and a state lottery. Having the country’s third-largest population exacerbates how successful the industry already is.

Sports betting, on the other hand, isn’t legal yet. The 2021 gaming compact that briefly legalized it last year is hung up in a legal battle that won’t be settled until at least 2023.

Until then, keep up with all the updates and the latest action in Florida’s gambling market by continuing to check back with PlayFL.

Legal Gambling Options in Florida

Online Casinos

Florida doesn’t have any online casino options at this time. Furthermore, there is very little talk to legalize any sort of online gambling at present outside of sports betting.

To play online legally, Floridians have social and sweepstakes casino options available. All of them are free to play. The best of the bunch are PulszChumba Casino and Luckyland Slots.

There are also seven land-based casinos located in Florida. All of them are tribal locations and owned by the Seminole Tribe or the Miccosukee Tribe. The largest property in the state is the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa.

Online Poker

Online poker is not permitted under Florida state law at this time and the political will to legalize it isn’t very strong. In fact, language that would’ve allowed online poker (and other online gambling) in the new gaming compact was stripped to ensure it passed through the state legislature.

Your best option for playing cards against others with your mobile device or computer is Global Poker, a social and sweepstakes online card room that allows you to play for actual prizes.

Meanwhile, there are more than two dozen poker rooms around the state at various casinos and pari-mutuels, and several major tournament events take place in the state each year. If you want to play cards in Florida, you have many options at your disposal, as long as you don’t mind getting in the car.

Online Sports Betting

The future of sports betting in Florida appeared rosy in late 2021. Lawmakers had enacted a series of laws to change the state’s compact with the Seminole Tribe, paving the way for online and retail sports betting in Florida. However, the outlook since then has become decidedly more cloudy.

The Tribe actually launched its first online sports betting app, Hard Rock Sportsbook, for a brief period near the end of 2021. However, a federal court ruling forced them to take the app offline after just over a month, and today it remains unclear if and when legal sports betting will launch.

The Seminole Tribe and the US Department of Interior have appealed the ruling, but it has been more than a year since the shortlived launch, and there is still no answer. The D.C. Court of Appeals is expected to decide on the case in mid-2023.

Stay tuned, however, as we wait to learn the fate of the appeal.

Florida Lottery

The Florida Lottery does not currently offer any possibilities for online play. You can only purchase lottery tickets at one of the more than 13,000 Florida Lottery retail locations.

If you do decide to play the Florida Lottery, you’ll discover plenty of different games to play. Multi-state draw games like Powerball and Mega Millions are available, along with more homegrown options like Florida Lotto and the Grouper. The Florida Lottery also offers a variety of different instant-win scratchers to play, so even though you must participate in person, you are never short on opportunities to play the lottery in Florida.

Horse Betting

There are various live horse racing options around the state. Of the five racetracks in Florida, the best known is Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach. The venerable track is the most popular of the five and hosts the Florida Derby and the Pegasus World Cup each year.

In addition to the five tracks, there are more than a dozen off-track betting locations scattered throughout the state. Many of these venues double as racinos, too, and offer the opportunity to play games beyond horse betting, like poker or betting on jai alai. Florida law allows its residents to place bets on horse races online as well on sites like TVG.

Daily Fantasy Sports

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) remains in a state of uneasy approval in Florida. While there is no law specifically on the books about DFS, there have been statements from officials that at least some of the games might not be in compliance with state law.

As it stands, Floridians can currently take part in DFS contests on several of the top sites, including DraftKings and FanDuel. For the moment, it appears likely that will remain the case for the foreseeable future.

Is online gambling legal in Florida?

Most online gambling isn’t legal in the Sunshine State. Concerning traditional casino games, online betting isn’t allowed. Furthermore, there isn’t any indication that this will change anytime soon.

However, Florida gamblers can bet on horse races through advance deposit wagering apps. Several are available in the state, but the most popular is the FanDuel-owned TVG.

Additionally, sports betting in Florida will certainly be available online. Online betting was the only option during the brief period in November 2021 when sports betting was available. There’s almost no scenario in which sports betting returns to Florida and online sportsbooks aren’t available.

Online casino games still have quite a wait

The negotiations of the 2021 Florida gaming compact highlighted the problems associated with online gambling in Florida. Politicians in the legislature are drawing a clear distinction between online sports betting and everything else.

In April 2021, there were several reports that Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida agreed to a “miscellaneous” section of the compact that could bring all forms of online gambling to Florida. The section stated that the state would negotiate in “good faith” with the tribe to offer online casino games, including poker.

Just before the deal was finalized and the compact was sent to the legislature, that part was removed from the compact. Local media outlets said it was to ensure a smooth passage in the legislature.

It got the smooth passage they were looking for. In a special session, the House passed the compact by a 97-17 margin, while the Senate voted 39-1 to approve the deal. But the move shows what type of political appetite there is for online casinos in Florida.

Even with sweeping support, DeSantis and the Seminoles felt it would be too risky to add those provisions to the deal. Those demographics are unlikely to change during the next few election cycles.

Large and fractured market adds to grim outlook for online casinos

In a way, the difficulty Florida is experiencing regarding sports betting’s legalization provides insight into how hard it can be for any gambling expansion to happen in the state.

As is the case with other large states, Florida struggles with the fact that there are powerful stakeholders that are at odds with one another and are fighting for a larger piece of the proverbial pie.

The Seminole Tribe is the largest of those stakeholders. The tribe has exclusivity on casino gaming in Florida and must be included in any gambling expansion discussion. They also are a significant piece of the state’s annual budget.

Revenue-sharing payments from the tribe’s casino locations send roughly $350 million to state coffers yearly.

Furthermore, the tribe isn’t shy about weaponizing these payments. The tribe withheld payment from the state multiple times when they were unsatisfied with something in the market. As a result, any new gambling would have to give the Seminoles a hefty segment of the market share.

But at the same time, there are plenty of other interested parties. The numerous pari-mutuel facilities and racinos have an obvious financial interest as well. None of those businesses would want to lose market share to an expanding Seminole operation. It’s the crux of the problem behind Florida sports betting.

Everyone wants a piece of Florida sports betting

Despite so many groups wanting a piece of the Florida sports betting market, the compact gave a near-monopoly to the Seminole Tribe. They were given exclusivity over the online betting market and pari-mutuels that opened brick-and-mortar books would do so as a vendor of the tribe.

Consequently, the ownership group of two pari-mutuels filed lawsuits over the ‘hub-and-spoke’ sports betting model. West Flagler Associates filed both state and federal lawsuits over the provisions.

Their state-level suit was tossed out of court. But in November 2021, a federal judge ruled in their favor. Judge Dabney Friedrich said the model violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Therefore, she invalidated the entire compact.

Even though the pari-mutuel facilities don’t have the same political power as the Seminoles, they still have enough resources to fight for their piece of the proverbial pie.

Other major operators don’t want to get closed out

Outside entities are also vying for the ability to serve the Florida market. Online sports betting giants FanDuel and DraftKings funded a failed 2022 ballot initiative that would’ve allowed non-Florida companies to operate online sportsbooks in the Sunshine State.

The initiative failed to even get on the ballot for the 2022 election cycle, but the Florida Supreme Court already gave the PACs a head start on their efforts for 2024. DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said he was “confident” their initiative will be in front of voters in two years.

The bottom line is that the bigger the state, the more complex it becomes to pass new gambling laws. No gambling expansion in large states like Florida, Texas or California can proceed without an extraordinarily deft compromise written into the legislation. Therefore, any legal online gambling that may come to the state will necessarily require a lot of bargaining and very likely a lot of time as well.

Florida Online Gambling FAQ

No, real money online gambling such as at online casinos and online poker rooms is illegal in Florida. There are online forms of gambling such as daily fantasy sports and horse race betting via advance deposit wagering sites legally available to Floridians. Social and sweepstakes casinos that use virtual currencies are allowed as well. But otherwise online gambling is prohibited by law.

None. There are no legal and regulated online casinos that you can play in Florida. However, there are several social and sweepstakes casinos, some of which offer opportunities to win real money prizes. The most notable of these sites are Pulsz, Chumba Casino, Luckyland Slots, Funzpoints and Global Poker.

Not currently. In 2021, lawmakers approved changes to the state’s compact with the Seminole Tribe to make sports betting legal. But a federal judge ruled the changes violated federal law and vacated the new compact. The tribe and the US Department of Interior are appealing the ruling, but in the meantime you won’t find any legal sports betting being offered in the state.

The Florida Gaming Control Commission (FGCC) is the chief regulatory body over gambling in Florida. The FGCC operates within the Office of the Attorney General’s Department of Legal Affairs. Established in 2021, the FGCC oversees nearly all forms of legal gambling in the state including slot machine facilities, card rooms, pari-mutuel wagering and tribal-state gaming compacts. Meanwhile the Florida Lottery Division of Security provides oversight for the Florida Lottery. 

For the most part, 18 years old is the minimum age to play poker, to buy lottery tickets and to bet at pari-mutuel facilities in Florida. However, casino games like slots and table games require patrons to be at least 21.

Nearly every casino in Florida offers poker. But the game is not restricted just to those properties. Including other establishments that legally offer poker, there are nearly 30 card rooms exist in the state. All told, players in Florida can find action at more than 900 poker tables at casinos, racetracks and other pari-mutuel facilities.

No. Dog racing became illegal in Florida after the passage of Amendment 13 in 2018. Nearly 70% of voters moved to disallow betting on greyhound races, and by Dec. 31, 2020 all dog racing tracks in the state had run their last races. Today those locations have either shut down entirely or refocused on poker and/or simulcast wagering. Therefore, if you see references to kennel clubs or greyhound racetracks online, double check to see if there are still activities going on there.

Resources

Problem gambling and gambling addiction are real problems that afflict Floridians. With so many casinos and pari-mutuel wagering facilities in the state, there are many opportunities to lose control. Thankfully, there are several resources that can help you navigate the road to recovery.

Another option for problem gamblers in Florida is self-exclusion. You can request that the proprietor of a gambling facility (or several) ban you from the property. After that point, you become civilly and (potentially) criminally liable if you come back onsite. In Florida, state law requires each facility to have a self-exclusion list, but each venue sets its own rules and keeps its own records. However, please be aware that only the gambler can place him or herself on a self-exclusion list; friends and family are not permitted to put someone on a list as a proxy.

Learn more about responsible gambling in Florida.

There are two federally recognized tribes in Florida: the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians and the Seminole Tribe. Because the Miccosukee do not have a compact with the state, they are only permitted to offer Class II gaming at their casino (i.e., slots-like electronic bingo and other non-house-banked games). Therefore, the Seminoles are the only group in the state permitted to offer full-service gambling to Floridians.

This makes the Seminole Tribe by far the largest and most prominent gaming tribe in the state, operating six casinos that pump nearly $350 million into Florida’s government each year. The tribe additionally owns Hard Rock Cafe International by which it furthers its profile and gaming interests around the globe.

Florida is quietly a powerhouse in the poker world. There are more than two dozen cardrooms scattered across the state. The largest of them can seat hundreds of poker players at a time. Although their entry into the state was a bit tentative, there is now a legitimate argument to be made that Florida is one of the country’s best states for poker players.

The state’s largest card rooms include bestbet Jacksonville and the Palm Beach Kennel Club as well as the rooms at the Seminole Hard Rock casinos in Hollywood and Tampa.

Jai alai is a sport whereby a ball is bounced off a walled space, or fronton, by accelerating it to high speeds with a hand-held basket or cesta. It gained popularity as a gambling alternative to horse racing, but over the years it has found a home and an avid following in Florida. The sport’s popularity was in steady decline since its peak in the 1970s, but after Magic City Casino launched a professional jai-alai league in early 2021, the sport regained a chunk of fans. Most frontons shuttered, but there are still frontons in Dania Beach and Miami.

The Florida Lottery does have an app, available for both Apple and Android users. To answer the obvious question, it is not possible to buy tickets through the app. Instead, Florida Lottery players can use the app to check their tickets, monitor drawings or save their favorite numbers for future picks. Florida does not permit the online purchase of lottery tickets by any method.