In April 2021 the State of Florida reached a deal with the Seminole Tribe of Florida to expand their gaming capabilities to include craps and roulette in addition to sports betting. Through this agreement, Florida would receive annual payments of $500 million for at least the next 5 years.
While the pending lawsuits are sorted out, mobile sports betting is not currently live in the state. The Seminoles did roll out their mobile betting app, Hard Rock Sportsbook, without fanfare on November 1, 2021. It was live and accepting wagers until December 4, when a federal judge issued an injunction requiring the Sportsbook to stop taking wagers while the judicial process plays out. Sports betting will be coming to Florida, but the timeline is uncertain at best. Below is all the available information concerning the rollout and timeline, which sportsbooks might be coming to Florida, and all the best potential bonus offers.
What is the current state of Florida sports betting legislation?
The agreement between the Seminole Tribe and the state of Florida is a huge leap forward, but there is still a small black cloud looming over the potential sports betting industry in the Sunshine State. Several questions need to be answered including: is it even legal? In the eyes of at least one federal judge, the answer is no.
The original agreement was approved by the Governor, the legislature, and even the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. You’d think that would be enough, but there were lawsuits filed that questioned whether the agreement is legal because the Seminole tribe is offering mobile betting statewide rather than solely on their own land. Not to get too into the weeds here, but the question boils down to whether a bet made anywhere in the state qualifies as “Seminole land” if the servers are on Seminole land. In other words, because all mobile bets are processed on Seminole land, under the agreement that means the bets were “made” on Seminole land.
The precedent established in New Jersey was that as long as bets are processed through the servers located in Atlantic City, those bets are placed in Atlantic City. As it turns out, this could certainly be viewed differently in Florida. Most legal experts believed opponents of the agreement would not prevail because it was agreed to by so many different parties, but here we are…
Federal judge forces u-turn for Florida sports betting
On November 22, 2021, a federal judge invalidated the state’s sports betting compact, effectively shutting down the industry in Florida. Not only did the ruling put a stop to the Seminole Tribe’s Hard Rock online sportsbook, but it also threw water on immediate plans for retail betting.
In response, the Seminoles immediately launched an appeal but were unsuccessful. Judge Dabney Friedrich, who first issued the ruling two days earlier, denied the appeal on November 24th. Further appeals have been brought up with the U.S. Circuit of Appeals, which will rely on a three-judge panel. Briefs are due imminently, so be sure to watch this space. We’ll keep you updated as events play out.
Hard Rock not currently offering online sports betting in Florida
Lost in all of the legislative red tape, the Seminole Tribe’s Hard Rock online sportsbook continued to accept wagers in the state of Florida until December 4. It was still possible to deposit and place wagers through the Hard Rock FL sportsbook app for two weeks after the court rulings. This shows that the Seminoles are playing hardball. Bettors in the state cannot currently access the Hard Rock Sportsbook at this time, but that could change at any time, despite previous court rulings. With this in mind, due to the current ongoing legal battles, we can’t recommend using Hard Rock Sportsbook Florida at this time.
Florida sports betting compact details
Although we are focusing mostly on what this agreement can do for online and retail sports betting in Florida, it is just one slice of the expansion package. This new compact will significantly increase the gambling footprint in the state. Under the agreement, the Seminole Tribe will give a minimum of $500 million per year for the first five years to the state of Florida. In return, the casinos will be able to offer craps, roulette, and other casino games that were previously not allowed.
Florida sports betting law
Assuming all goes well and the server issues are cleared, there is like to be retail sports betting at all existing casinos and additional table games offered at the Seminole properties. Online sports betting will also be here to stay, although the number of potential operators in the state is still a mystery. It could be as few as one, a Hard Rock monopoly, or it could end up being a more open market.
Retail sports betting will also possibly be offered at several professional sports venues. The Seminole Tribe already has the naming rights to Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, which has played host to the Miami Open Tennis tournament and several Super Bowls.
Other possible locations would include American Airlines Arena and Loan Depot Park in Miami that are the homes of the Heat and Marlins respectively. Tampa is home to the Buccaneers stadium, Raymond James Stadium, and Amalie Arena, home of the NHL’s Lightning. Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays is another possible sports betting options along with TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Amway Arena in Orlando, and the BB&T Center, home of the Florida Panthers.
The PGA tour makes several stops in Florida, so it would only make sense for possible live sports betting to take place at these events, along with several NASCAR races. The final details of what will be allowed and won’t behave yet to be determined, as this is a developing story. Come back to SportsHandle for all the most recent information.
Which online sportsbooks will be coming to Florida?
Most states that have gone live with online sports betting have several licenses up for grabs, but since all gambling in Florida goes through the Seminole Tribe, they may end up as the only game in town. The Seminole Tribe purchased the Hard Rock brand back in 2018, which they are using for their online sportsbook. Additional operators may come to the state, but they will have to partner with the Seminoles, allow all their bets to be processed on tribal servers, and pay the tribe 40% of their sports betting revenue. We expect additional operators to agree to those terms at some point down the line, but it likely won’t happen until the legal issues are settled.
With a population of 21.6 million residents, Florida is the largest sports betting market in the country to date. Pair that with minimal competition, and any bidding war would get heated. There are only a few online sportsbooks that come to mind with pockets deep enough to foot that bill. Let’s take a closer look at possible suitors who could make an impact in the state.
Hard Rock Sportsbook
As mentioned, the Hard Rock Sportsbook, which is owned by the Seminole tribe, went live on November 1, 2021, before shutting down five weeks later. The timing was a big surprise, as was the rollout, which was done without any prior notification. One day the app just worked. Already live in Iowa and New Jersey, Hard Rock, powered by GiG, offers a large variety of betting options. In-play betting has you covered over the full range of major sports including NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA and more.
Overall, the Hard Rock Online Sportsbook can be described as slightly better than adequate. The lines are not always the greatest, and their promotions are not going to knock anyone’s socks off. However, they have made improvements since the 2018 debut, which is encouraging. As they expand to new markets, like Florida, they will need to continue to make upgrades to stay competitive.
When we think of legal online sports betting, it is hard to imagine a market without FanDuel being involved. FanDuel will be one of the top suitors vying for licensure in Florida as they are live in just about every legal state, have deep pockets, and have shown that they are willing to do anything in their power to secure a license.
This would be great news for Florida, as FanDuel is always among the best online sportsbooks. They offer some of the most competitive lines in the industry, a stacked promotional schedule, plenty of banking options, and almost any sport you can think of. FanDuel’s desktop sportsbook and mobile apps are both extremely easy to use for both rookies and veteran bettors and would be a great fit for the state.
Almost everything that was said about FanDuel can also be said about DraftKings Online Sportsbook. DraftKings Sportsbook is available in many states and has the money to outbid most of the competition if it comes down to it. DraftKings would be a great addition to the Florida market with their seemingly endless promotional offerings, huge selection of betting options, and an easy-to-use desktop sportsbook/mobile app.
DraftKings does not have any current ties to Florida, but they usually find a way in. DraftKings has shown that they are dedicated to being the top online sportsbook in the US and Florida would be a huge step in that direction.
Caesars is already present in Florida via their retail casino, Isle Casino Pompano Park, located just 20 minutes north of Fort Lauderdale. Caesars showed its willingness to stay competitive when it merged with William Hill in 2020. When it comes to gaining access in Florida, Caesars Sportsbook may have an advantage over the competition since they already have a casino in the state.
TwinSpires is the online sportsbook brand of Churchill Downs Incorporated, which is also present in the state of Florida via their Calder Casino that is located just north of Miami. TwinSpires online sportsbook is already live in several states but has not caught much traction in any market they have entered. TwinSpires may see Florida as a huge opportunity with a massive population and what may be limited competition. Unfortunately, TwinSpires is the only sportsbook on this list that fails to outperform Hard Rock as far as promotional schedule, lines/pricing, and betting options.
This one may be a bit of a long shot as they have no ties to Florida and have not shown the same “anything it takes” attitude that DraftKings and FanDuel have. Regardless, we would not count out a combination of one of the largest sports media companies, FOX Sports, and one of the biggest online gambling companies in the world, The Stars Group. It seems that FOX Bet tends to lean more towards regulated markets that offer both online casinos, poker, and sports betting, but the sheer volume of potential customers may motivate FOX Bet to try to get in on the action.
Other potential Florida online sportsbooks
In addition to online sportsbooks, there is the potential for a lot of retail sportsbooks that will be coming to Florida. There are currently seven Native American Casinos that will be atop the list for retail sports betting, and several “racinos” that will possibly be offering wagers on sports. In addition to the casinos and racinos, Florida could allow sports betting at professional sports venues, including NHL, NBA, PGA, NFL and NASCAR facilities.
|Casino||Location||Sports Betting Eligible|
|Miccosukee Resort and Gaming Center||Miami||Yes|
|Seminole Casino Brighton||Okeechobee||Yes|
|Seminole Casino Immokalee||Immokalee||Yes|
|Seminole Casino Coconut Creek||Coconut Creek||Yes|
|Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino||Hollywood||Yes|
|Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino||Tampa||Yes|
|Seminole Classic Casino||Hollywood||Yes|
Potential sports venue sportsbooks
|Venue||Location||Affiliated Sports Team|
|American Airlines Arena||Miami||Miami Heat|
|LoanDepot Park||Miami||Miami Marlins|
|Raymond James Stadium||Tampa||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Amalie Arena||Tampa||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|Tropicana Field||St. Petersburg||Tampa Bay Rays|
|TIAA Bank Field||Jacksonville||Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Amway Center||Orlando||Orlando Magic|
|BB&T Center||Sunrise||Florida Panthers|
|Hard Rock Stadium||Miami Gardens||Various|
Florida online sportsbook new player bonuses
When you register for a new account with any Florida online sportsbook, there will be a welcome package waiting for you. The offers will vary by site but the most common new player offers are:
- Risk-Free Bet: This is the most common bonus offered at US online sportsbooks. They allow users to place a bet and if it loses, the online sportsbook will refund that bet in either site credit or a free bet.
- Deposit Bonus: Online sportsbooks will match your first deposit up to a certain amount. For example, if an online sportsbook is offering a 100% deposit match up to $500, and you deposit $500, you will receive $500 in bonus funds. That would start you off with a $1000 bankroll after making just a $500 deposit. There will be playthrough requirements that must be satisfied before you can withdraw the bonus money, though.
- No-deposit Bonus: A no deposit bonus is free money just for signing up. It’s typically a small amount between $10 and $30, but we don’t often make a habit of turning down free money.
- Matched Free Bet: This would be when an online sportsbook will match your first bet in the form of a free bet. For example, if your first bet is $100 on the Miami Heat to win, you would then get a free bet for $100.
Florida online sportsbook betting options
When sportsbooks go live in Florida, both online and in a retail setting, bettors will have access to all the most popular options like Moneyline, spreads, totals, futures, and props. Where online sports betting can get innovative is their full slate of in-game betting. This is where you can bet on games live, as the action unfolds. You can wager on every down, every pitch, every game in tennis, and more. Lines for in-play betting are constantly updating, giving you full control.
Betting options will include:
- Moneyline: This is the most basic bet, where you bet on who is going to win the game.
- Spreads: Spread bets are wagers where the sportsbook will handicap the match, either giving or taking away points. For example, if the Heat are -5.5 to win over the Knicks, the Heat would need to win by 6 or more points for the bet to be deemed a winner.
- Totals: Also referred to as Over/Under bets, you are betting on how many total points will be scored in a game or match. If the total for the Jaguars game is set at 45.5, and you bet the over, you need 46 or more points to be scored to win the bet.
- Futures: Exactly as they sound, you are betting on a future result, like the eventual Super Bowl Winner or league MVP
- Props: Propositional bets are when you are betting on a team or individual performance. For example, you could bet on how many pass attempts Tom Brady will have or how many rebounds LeBron James will snag.
Florida available betting markets
It is yet to be determined if there will be market restrictions when Florida goes live with online sports betting. However, if the established US betting markets are any indications, there won’t be many. We expect all sports to be fair game. The only real grey area in any US market is if there will be betting allowed on events such as professional sports drafts and award shows. Typical betting markets include, but are not limited to:
- Aussie Rules
- NCAA Sports
- Table Tennis
All bet types should be available for all sports, but will vary by sportsbook. There is one restriction that seems to be universal throughout the US betting market, and that is no prop betting on college sports. Some states have gone as far as banning betting on in-state college teams, but that didn’t happen in Florida. Fans of the Florida State Seminoles and Florida Gators can bet on their teams as much as they want.
Florida online sportsbook banking options
Before 2021, your only real option in Florida was to risk your money placing bets with shady offshore sportsbooks. Pre-paid cards, converting your cash to crypto, and other unconventional methods are now thankfully a thing of the past now that sports betting is legal in Florida.
All banking options will be thoroughly tested by the state for integrity and safety. Many of the banking options are payment methods that you use every day, and one of the primary benefits of using a legal, regulated sportsbook is knowing that games are fair, your money is safe, and financial transactions are quick and easy.
Banking options will include, but are not limited to:
- PayPal: You probably already have a PayPal account for making purchases online, and now you can use the same service for lightning-quick deposits and withdrawals.
- Credit/Debit Cards: The most popular credit cards that are accepted on legal and regulated online sportsbooks are Visa and MasterCard, but some sites do offer American Express and Discover.
- Online Banking: You can use your bank’s online bill pay feature to deposit and withdrawal on most sites.
- ACH/eCheck: Just like writing a paper check, you are using the routing and account number from your bank to transfer money on and off the site.
- Cash at the Casino Cage: You will likely be able to bring money and a photo ID to the sportsbook’s affiliated casino for cash deposits and withdrawals.
- PayNearMe: You can use the PayNearMe option in the online sportsbook cashier and a barcode will be generated. You can bring that barcode to any local CVS, Family Dollar or 7-11 along with cash. The deposit will be available shortly after it is processed.
Florida sports betting FAQs
Is sports betting legal in Florida?
We’ll find out soon enough… Mobile betting technically went live in Florida on November 1, 2021, when the Seminole tribe rolled out their Hard Rock Sportsbook app. Just a few weeks later a federal judge invalidated the compact, effectively shutting down the industry. Hard Rock turned off its mobile app on December 4. The legality of sports betting in Florida will be decided by the courts.
Is online sports betting available in Florida?
Not at present. There are still a few unanswered questions looming over sports betting in Florida, but right now mobile betting is not available in the state through the Seminole-run Hard Rock Sportsbook. The Seminoles will likely open their sportsbook back up as soon as the pending legal issues are resolved.
What is the legal betting age in Florida?
Do I have to be in Florida to place a bet?
Yes you do, but you do not need to be a resident.
How many online sportsbooks will be available in Florida?
Right now we don’t know. Hard Rock Sportsbook could end up being the only one live in the state, or we could see other companies given access. Time will tell.
Will sports betting bonuses be offered in Florida?
Yes! Online sportsbooks offer new player bonuses to get you to check them out.
Will Florida offer Responsible Gambling resources?
Yes, sports betting is meant to be fun, and if someone needs help, online sportsbooks will be required to offer significant responsible gaming protections.