Florida has taken a huge step in the right direction towards legalized sports betting, but there is still a lot of work to be done. 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 the next 30 years.
While there is a lot to be sorted out, there is hope and optimism that online sports betting is coming soon to Florida. Below is all the available information concerning the rollout and timeline, who might be coming to Florida, and all the best 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. A lot of questions need to be answered including: is it even legal?
The agreement has been sent to the Office of Indian Gaming in Washington D.C. to be approved and will also need the stamp of approval from the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. If the agreement finds its way out of D.C. and back to Florida, the Florida legislature will need to approve the compact on May 17th, 2021, during a special session. Florida is expected to approve the compact if sent back from D.C. as Governor DeSantis is operating among friends in a largely Republican-controlled state legislature.
One of the biggest arguments for not approving online sports betting surrounds whether bets placed online are considered to be taking place on Seminole land. If the servers are on seminole land, will that count? 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. This could certainly be viewed differently in Florida, but it’s an encouraging sign.
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 $400 million per year, and $6 billion over 30 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.
The sports betting agreement will allow online sportsbooks and retail sports betting at tribal casinos. It is possible that Florida sports venues also get in on the action. The specifics of where and when are not stipulated yet, but the Seminole Tribe does operate six casinos in the state and has agreements with Hard Rock Stadium in the Miami suburbs in place already.
Florida sports betting law
Assuming all goes well, the compact is approved by all parties 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 is also in the works, although the number of potential operators in the state is still a mystery. It could be as few as one, a likely Hard Rock monopoly, or it could end up being a more open market.
Retail sports betting will also likely 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 Stadium 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 wont be have yet to be determined, as this is a developing story. Come back to SportsHandle for all the most recent information.
What 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 leads us to believe the first license is all but locked up. If additional licenses are made available, it is probable they’ll land with the highest bidders.
With a population of 21.6 million residents, Florida would be by far the largest sports betting market in the country to date. Pair that with minimal competition, 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 Online Sportsbook
Hard Rock Online Sportsbook is almost guaranteed to be one of the online sportsbooks that land in Florida, as they are owned by the Seminole Tribe. The big question is, will they be the only one? 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 in order 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 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 their willingness to stay competitive when they merged with William Hill in 2020. When it comes to gaining access in Florida, Caesars Sports may have an advantage over the competition since they already do retail business in the state.
TwinSpires is the online sportsbook brand of Churchill Downs Incorporated, who 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 over two dozen “racinos” that will likely 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 stadiums.
|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|
|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 in the amount of $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 really 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 in order 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 it is yet to be seen what will be offered in Florida. Fans of the Florida State Seminoles and Florida Gators will have to wait a bit longer to find out if they can wager on their favorite teams.
Florida online sportsbook banking options
In the current state of Florida sports betting, your only real option is to risk your money placing bets with shady offshore sportsbooks. Pre-paid cards, converting your cash to crypto, and other unconventional methods will be a thing of the past when Florida online sportsbooks go live.
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 banks online billpay 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?
Not yet, but several key steps have been made. It may officially be legal soon. Stay tuned.
When will online sports betting be available in Florida?
There are a lot of unanswered questions looming over sports betting in Florida, but if all goes well, we could see retail sports betting sometime in 2021. If approved, online sports betting will likely follow.
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 seems a near guarantee due to its Seminole ties. They could end up being the only option, 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 in order 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.