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Mitchell South

by Mitchell South

Updated Nov 7, 2023 · 7:21 AM PST

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Legal sports betting has finally made its way to the sunny state of Florida, with sports betting legalized for the Seminole Tribe exclusively.

After multiple attempts from West Flagler Associates to delay the legalization of Florida sports betting, retail sportsbooks from Hard Rock will launch on Thursday, Dec. 7, at all three Seminole casinos in South Florida. Craps and roulette will also become available, with online sports betting debuting even earlier on the Hard Rock Bet app.

Floridians are desperate for legalized sports betting, as there are limited opportunities to do so right now. Florida’s closest neighbors, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, don’t offer legalized sports betting.

Fans in these neighboring states could be interested in making the trip down south if more Florida sportsbooks such as DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM arrive in the future. With a booming tourism scene that attracts millions of people every year looking to escape colder climates, Florida could become one of the best places to bet on sports.

Wagering in the Sunshine State will soon be a reality, and we’re here to help you get prepared!

When Will Online Sports Betting Be Legal in Florida?

Optimism was running high when it came to the potential of sports betting legalization in Florida, and at last, wagering has finally been legalized exclusively for the Seminole Tribe and their sportsbook partner Hard Rock.

The road to legal Florida sports betting has been long and winding.

Prior to 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a tribal gaming compact in April 2021 to get the legalization process underway. This new compact passed state legislation in May 2021 and outlines some of the basic framework for retail and online wagering that could help Florida develop into a thriving American sports betting market.

In a major step towards legalizing sports betting, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis reached an agreement in April 2021 with the Florida Seminole Tribe, which owns the Hard Rock casinos and has gaming exclusivity in the state.

In exchange for exclusive rights to running sports betting at their casinos, the Seminole Tribe agreed to pay at least $500 million annually to the state for the next 30 years. This would pave the way for mobile sports betting in Florida if the agreement is finalized.

A secondary sports betting bill at the state level (SB 2-A) was signed into law on May 25, 2021 to complement the Governor’s gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe. While the compact has passed Florida legislature in the House and the Senate, the agreement is still subject to review from the Department of the Interior before it becomes federal law. Legal challenges are expected.

Unfortunately, in November 2021, a U.S. Federal Judge threw out the sports betting agreement with the Seminole Tribe which has stopped the arrival of sports betting apps and sports betting sites statewide until further notice. However, as of November 2023, the Hard Rock Bet app is back up and running in a limited capacity.

Florida Sports Betting Latest News

We’re staying on top of the latest news for Florida sports betting, and we’ll keep this page updated as major developments unfold.

  • November 7, 2023: Florida online sports betting is suddenly back up and running after a two-year pause, although it’s currently limited. The Seminole Tribe is offering limited access to existing customers on the Hard Rock Bet platform, and while this is exciting news, it’s unclear if the app will be made available for all Floridians anytime soon.
  • November 1, 2023: After numerous attempts to delay sports betting launches from West Flagler were shot down, including a rejection from the US Supreme Court, it looks as if Florida sports betting will start to re-launch. The Seminole Tribe announced that retail Florida sports betting will launch on Thursday, Dec. 7, at all three Seminole casinos in South Florida. Craps and roulette will also go live that day, and there are rumors surfacing that Florida online sports betting could launch even earlier in November.
  • October 6, 2023: West Flagler has a new supporter in their goal of delaying legal Florida sports betting. Anti gambling group ‘No Casinos Inc.’ has requested to submit an amicus curiae brief to the Florida Supreme Court in support of West Flagler.
  • September 26, 2023: Delays continue to mount for a potential launch of Florida online sports betting. West Flagler has now filed a lawsuit with the Florida Supreme Court, attempting to invalidate the legal language in the state’s approved 2021 gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been named in the petition, and while this challenge creates a new roadblock at the state level, West Flagler will likely also attempt to challenge the compact at the federal level with SCOTUS.
  • September 25, 2023: The Department of Interior has submitted a response to West Flagler’s request for a motion of stay, stating a stay is currently not warranted. West Flager has seven days to respond to the DOI, creating further delays for a potential launch of Florida online sports betting.
  • September 16, 2023: West Flager has filed for a stay of the mandate for the Florida sports betting case, with the intent of bringing the issue to the Supreme Court. If the D.C. Circuit Court grants the stay, then the Seminole Tribe launch of sports betting would be delayed further. Sports betting could launch if a stay is not granted, and a decision on the matter is expected to arrive in short order.
  • September 11, 2023:  The D.C. Circuit Court denied an en banc hearing request of its decision to restore a 2021 Florida gaming compact. All eyes turn to Hard Rock Sportsbook to see if they will re-launch Florida online sports betting, while West Flager has 90 days to decide if they would attempt to bring the case to the Supreme Court.
  • August 17, 2023: The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered the Seminole Tribe of Florida to provide a response to West Flagler Associates’ Florida sports betting en banc hearing request. The Seminole Tribe has until August 31, 2023 to respond.
  • November 22, 2021: A U.S. Federal Judge determined the Florida gaming compact violates IGRA (Indian Gaming Regulatory Act) and has thrown out the state sports betting agreement with the Seminole Tribe. Online and in-person sports betting has been halted in the Sunshine State, and mobile wagering is unlikely to continue until 2023 at the earliest.
  • November 5, 2021: The hearing for a Washington D.C. lawsuit challenging Florida online sports betting was completed despite a myriad of technical difficulties. Judge Friedrich is giving the government until November 9 to provide supplemental briefings, and while the court hopes to reach a verdict by November 15, Judge Friedrich did not promise that will happen.
  • November 1, 2021: Hard Rock Digital went live with online sports betting across the state of Florida. In-person wagering at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood is currently unavailable, while online sports betting with other platforms in the Sunshine State still faces large legal battles.
  • October 19, 2021: A lawsuit challenging Florida online sports betting is dismissed by a U.S. District Judge. However, a Washington, D.C. lawsuit remains in tact and is threatening Florida’s online sports betting future.
  • A lawsuit challenging Florida online sports betting has been dismissed by a U.S. District Judge, but a Washington, D.C. lawsuit remains and poses a threat to the state’s online sports betting chances. 
  • September 2021: A hearing on the legal challenge to the 2021 Florida gaming compact will be held on November 5. This could delay the launch of Florida sports betting to November 15, or possibly even longer depending on the outcome of the hearing.
  • August 2021: A federal lawsuit was filed to block the Florida gaming compact by West Flagler Associates, on behalf of Magic City Casino and the Bonita Springs Poker Room. The lawsuit is against Deb Haaland, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, and challenges her approval of the 2021 Florida gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe.
  • May 2021: Bill SB 2-A was signed into state law, setting the framework for retail and mobile betting at Florida Seminole Tribal casinos. The bill has 45 days to be reviewed by the Department of Interior before becoming federal law.
  • April 2021: Governor Ron DeSantis signed a tribal gaming compact agreement to restart Florida’s sports betting legalization process. The agreement outlined conditions for the Florida Seminole Tribes to offer retail sports betting at their casinos, and possibly online betting across the state.

What to Expect if Sports Betting Launches in Florida

Sports betting is expanding across America, and if betting goes live in Florida, you can expect the Sunshine State will be one of the hottest markets in the country.

As the third most-populated state in the US, Florida’s 21+ million residents represent a massive opportunity for legal sportsbooks. Just imagine if fans could have bet on the Buccaneers’ recent Super Bowl victory or other NFL season games featuring the Dolphins or Jaguars.

The millions of fans who call Florida home have no shortage of local teams to bet on. Betting on teams in your hometown is a great way to get closer to the games, but you also might have some inside knowledge that the sportsbooks aren’t aware of.

Here are some local Florida franchises that would draw a massive amount of betting volume:

  • Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Miami Dolphins
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Miami Heat
  • Orlando Magic
  • Miami Marlins
  • Tampa Bay Rays
  • Florida Panthers
  • Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Inter Miami CF
  • Orlando City FC
  • Orlando Pride

Some jurisdictions prohibit betting on NCAA college sports games taking place within state borderlines. For example, NJ sports betting laws prohibit fans from wagering on college games in New Jersey, or any outside NCAA events featuring collegiate teams from the Garden State.

Hopefully, Florida lawmakers won’t follow New Jersey’s example when it comes to betting on in-state college teams. Florida has a thriving college football and college basketball scene, and it would be a shame if sports bettors couldn’t get closer to the action in their favorite NCAA games.

Some of the best local NCAA teams to bet on in Florida would include:

  • Florida State Seminoles
  • Florida Gators
  • Miami Hurricanes

Research is key when you’re trying to beat the sportsbooks, and if you start preparing now, you’ll be ahead of the game if and when legal sports betting launches in the Sunshine State.

Retail Sports Betting in Florida

The proposed tribal gaming compact would allow the Florida Seminole Tribe to offer sports betting at their seven casinos in the state.

Here are some of the Seminole casinos that are likely to offer legal sports betting in Florida:

  • Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa
  • Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood
  • Seminole Brighton Casino
  • Seminole Casino Coconut Creek
  • Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee

We expect every location would offer a retail sportsbook where fans could bet, along with support for mobile betting across the state. Be sure to check this page again later as things change!

FL Sports Betting History

Aside from the lack of sports wagering in Florida, there is a long history of casino gambling in the state dating back to the 1930s.

Back then, residents could get their fix with horse racing as well as jai alai frontons that offer poker rooms and slots. While slot machines and casino games had a short existence in the ’30s, they were brought back to tribal casinos in the 1980s and approved for racetracks in 2004.

Gambling offerings have expanded to table games with tribal casinos thereafter and the state of Florida currently has eight casinos, plus several offshore cruise casinos. All this in addition to the state lottery, Mega Millions, Powerball, and bingo offerings.

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was overturned on May 14, 2018, allowing each state in the country to propose and create its own laws and regulations for sports betting. The first legal sportsbooks outside of Nevada opened in Delaware in June 2018.

Florida has an acceptable and progressive view of sports gambling, so it isn’t farfetched to foresee legalization in the near future. Not to mention, Florida is a hotbed for professional sports with multiple major teams in the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS, and more.

FL Sports Betting FAQs

Here are some commonly asked questions about Florida sports betting and our answers for you.

Can you bet on sports in Florida?

Yes, select customers can bet on sports in Florida. It’s possible that legal online sports betting will be available for all residents in the Sunshine State by 2023.

Will Florida have mobile app betting and online wagering?

Yes, now that Florida went through with legalizing sports betting, they will attempt to also offer mobile app betting and online sportsbooks.

Does FanDuel sportsbook work in Florida?

FanDuel and DraftKings currently accept Florida players and only allow daily fantasy sports at this time.

What are the major sports teams in Florida?

Major sports teams in Florida include the Marlins, Rays, Heat, Magic, Jaguars, Dolphins, Buccaneers, Panthers, Orlando City FC, Inter Miami CF, and Orlando Pride.

Get Your Game Plan Together

We know it can be difficult to bet with confidence, but placing a responsible wager is the best way to get closer to your favorite games.

Legal sports wagering is on the horizon in Florida, so don’t forget to sign up for our FL sports betting newsletter! This list is just for the Sunshine State, and we’ll get you started on the right track with all the information and bonus promos you’ll need.

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