As seen in

Is sports betting legal in Florida?

Yes. Hard Rock Bet is live in Florida after shutting down for almost two years.

After Hard Rock shut down its app in December 2021 following a series of court rulings, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals held the industry in limbo while deliberating those rulings, which vacated the gambling compact between the state and the Seminole Tribe. The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Seminole Tribe on June 30, 2023, making sports betting legal again.

Hard Rock Bet relaunched to all eligible users in Florida on Dec. 5, 2023.

What’s happening in Florida sports betting right now

The status of Florida sports betting

The Hard Rock Bet app relaunched in late 2023 after litigation shut it down for about two years.

While discussions in most states occur in public legislative hearings, sports betting negotiations in Florida happened nearly entirely behind the scenes. To start with, any deal for sports betting in Florida required negotiating a larger gambling compact between the state and the Seminole Tribe.

That is exactly what happened in April 2021, when Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new compact with the Seminoles that would bring some form of statewide mobile wagering to Florida. State legislators approved the deal in May 2021, and the US Department of the Interior allowed the tribal compact that would legalize Florida sports betting to be published in the Federal Register in August.

Local groups mounted legal challenges to Florida sports betting, claiming it violated a constitutional amendment requiring voter approval or the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. A federal judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, and the compact was vacated pending appeals by both the tribe and the Department of the Interior.

After several months of sports betting hanging in legal limbo, the Seminole Tribe successfully appealed the federal judge’s decision. The DC District Court of Appeals overturned the District Court decision that had blocked regulated sports betting. That decision made Florida sports betting legal again and gave the Seminole Tribe the ability to relaunch Hard Rock Bet at any time.

On Nov. 1, 2023, the Seminole Tribe announced that it would launch retail sports betting at its casinos on Dec. 7, 2023. The Hard Rock Bet app became available to all eligible users in the state on Dec. 5.

In March 2024, the Florida Supreme Court denied a petition challenging the state’s gambling compact. West Flagler Associates then filed a supplemental brief with the US Supreme Court against the Department of the Interior, explaining why the court should grant its petition and hear the case. On June 17, the US Supreme Court announced it would not hear the case.

Top sportsbooks in Florida

Hard Rock Bet Florida

Though Hard Rock Bet is the only sports betting app available in the state, Floridians can at least rest assured they have a quality app at their disposal. The first thing that stands out about the Hard Rock Bet app is its sleek, aesthetically pleasing interface. The color scheme and graphics immediately catch the eye, unlike many competitors in other states. The app is also easy to navigate, a key factor as the only selection for new bettors in Florida.

Hard Rock Bet promotes a few types of parlays, a popular feature with many users. Aside from same-game parlays, the app provides pre-built SGPs, prop parlays, and flex parlays that don’t require bettors to win every leg of their bet. It also offers access to the Hard Rock Loyalty Rewards program. Users will enroll automatically, and they can earn points as they bet that they can then redeem for discounts at Hard Rock properties, odds boosts, and bonus bets.

Some users, however, complain about the customer service and the limits placed on some bets.

Recent Florida sports betting news

Florida sports betting bills

2024

A bill to legalize DFS in Florida dies before reaching the Senate floor.

2021

An enabling bill ratified the tribal compact with the state:

Three bills sought to legalize sports betting in Florida before the Seminole Tribe and the state reach their deal. The bills essentially were abandoned once it became clear sports wagering would be included in the tribal compact:

2020

The legislative effort to move Florida sports betting forward received relatively little consideration. Two bills died in committee early in the session:

Florida sports betting law

The law governing Florida sports betting technically exists via the tribal compact from 2021. The compact calls for the Seminole Tribe to share 13.75% of sports betting revenue with the state, as long as the Seminoles sign sports betting contracts with at least three pari-mutuel racing venues within three months.

Those agreements would allow the pari-mutuels to launch their own skins but require bets on the Seminole server. Without those arrangements, that revenue share would increase by 2% until such deals are in place. The pari-mutuels would get to keep 40% of sports betting revenue.

SB 2-A made the new gambling compact into law. The Seminole Tribe owns exclusivity to sports betting in Florida.

Legal sports betting options in Florida

Aside from Hard Rock Bet and betting on horse racing, no other legal sportsbook websites accept bets from anyone in Florida. DraftKings launched its horse betting app, DK Horse, in Florida ahead of the 2023 Kentucky Derby.

FanDuel Racing is also available in the state for bettors looking to do any Kentucky Derby betting or wagering on other races like the Belmont Stakes.

Many Florida pari-mutuel locations offer betting on jai alai, a sport similar to racquetball in which players use curved baskets strapped to their hands to launch hard rubber balls at fast speeds on a three-walled court.

There are illegal offshore websites that offer sports betting to people in Florida. Such sites do not hold a license from any US jurisdiction to legally accept bets from residents. Without regulation from the state, if something were to go wrong at an offshore betting app — for instance, it refuses to pay out winnings or it disappears with customers’ money — you would have no legal recourse.

The only safe and protected way to bet on sports in the United States is to do so at a licensed sportsbook.

Popular sports to bet on in FL

With more than 21 million people, Florida is the third-most populous state in the country, behind California and Texas. It’s also the second most popular state as a tourist destination behind California.

NFL betting in Florida

Florida has three NFL teams (the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins, and Jacksonville Jaguars). The NFL generates the most betting interest of any sport in the US year in and year out.

NBA betting in Florida

Two NBA teams (the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic) call Florida home, accounting for most of the basketball fans in the Sunshine State. The NBA continues to be a popular option for in-game or in-play betting because of the pace of the action.

MLB betting in Florida

Two Major League Baseball teams (the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays) operate in Florida. Both consistently struggle to draw fans to the ballpark, but the state is also the spring training home for half of all MLB teams, drawing in fans with Grapefruit League action every spring.

Soccer betting in Florida

With the arrival of Lionel Messi on Inter Miami, soccer has boasted a larger following than usual. This summer, the Copa America final will be held in Miami, with hopes that Argentina will be there. This will provide bettors with plenty of Copa America odds, and Euro odds if you are looking for international wagers.

NHL betting in Florida

Two NHL teams (the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning) compete in Florida. The Panthers reached the finals of the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs. The Lightning are recent Stanley Cup champions and remain one of the strongest teams in the league.

NCAA betting in Florida

Florida has three college football powerhouses: the Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, and Miami Hurricanes.

Where can I bet on sports in Florida?

The Seminole Tribe owns and operates six casinos in the state. All six launched in-person sports betting on Dec. 7, 2023:

In addition, sportsbooks are likely to open at some point in the state’s pari-mutuel racing facilities, such as Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs. These facilities would have to partner with the Seminole Tribe to open a sportsbook, according to the 30-year compact.

DFS in Florida

Daily fantasy sports are unregulated in Florida, but apps like Betr Picks, PrizePicks, Underdog, DraftKings, and FanDuel continue to operate in the state for now. Additionally, Fliff, which bills itself as a free-to-play social sportsbook, is available in Florida.

Alongside the sports betting deal of 2021, legislators attempted to codify DFS but ran out of time in the session. A representative of DraftKings and FanDuel spoke against the proposed deal because it would have required them to stop operating until they could acquire a license, among other issues.

Since then, DFS and social sportsbook companies have been available in the state without much pushback. That changed in September 2023 when the Florida Gaming Control Commission sent cease-and-desist letters to PrizePicks, Underdog, and Betr. The commission did not send letters to FanDuel or DraftKings. Despite the letters, all five companies continued to offer contests.

A second round of cease-and-desist letters went out to DFS companies in January 2024, after which at least one platform reportedly made plans to exit the state.

Two Florida statutes (849.08 and 849.14) outlaw gambling on both games of chance and skill. Still, DFS and social sportsbook companies could potentially continue to operate in the state until they are further challenged in court.

Is horse racing legal in Florida?

In Florida, pari-mutuel wagering is authorized for horse betting, harness horse racing, quarter-horse racing, greyhound racing, jai alai games, and cardroom poker games. Additionally, slot machine gaming at pari-mutuel facilities is authorized in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

The most popular thoroughbred racetracks in the state are Gulfstream Park, Gulfstream Park West and Tampa Bay Downs. Gulfstream Park hosts three important prep events for Triple Crown races in the Holy Bull Stakes, Fountain of Youth Stakes, and the Florida Derby.

The historic Hialeah Park, which opened in 1922, offers quarter-horse racing. Betting on horse racing in Florida is regulated by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, and online horse betting is available through sites such as FanDuel Racing.

Florida used to be the dog racing capital of the country with 11 greyhound racetracks. However, in 2018 voters decided to cease dog racing in the state at the beginning of 2021.

Florida sports betting timeline

2024

The lawsuits continue in Florida, but the Hard Rock app, and in-person sports betting at casinos, continue.

PrizePicks ceases operations in Florida on March 1. Previously, multiple DFS platforms, including Underdog, PrizePicks, and Betr, received a second round of cease-and-desist letters from regulators. PrizePicks and Underdog launch peer-to-peer DFS pick’em games in the state soon after.

Former Jacksonville Jaguars employee Amit Patel was sentenced to 78 months in federal prison after stealing $22 million from the team.

During the East Coast Gaming Congress, Hard Rock CEO Jim Allen says Hard Rock would be “receptive” to the idea of more sportsbooks launching in Florida.

2023

After a federal judge rules in favor of the plaintiffs and vacates the compact between the Seminole Tribe and the state, several months pass without a decision. Finally, the Seminole Tribe successfully appeals, overturning the District Court decision that had blocked regulated sports betting. West Flagler Associates later petitions to rehear the case, but the request is denied.

Though legal proceedings have not been finalized, Hard Rock Bet relaunches in Florida to existing customers on Nov. 7 and for all eligible bettors on Dec. 5.

2022

As the year begins, Florida sports betting remains in limbo with no end in sight. It is unclear when the tribal issues revolving around the state gambling compact with the Seminoles will be resolved. The movement, or lack thereof, on the lawsuit since the appeals were registered likely means that online sports betting in Florida will not return in 2022.

Meanwhile, the ballot initiative that DraftKings and FanDuel orchestrated does not reach the November 2022 general election. Both companies admit defeat at the end of January. However, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins remains confident about a ballot initiative in 2024.

Oral arguments are held in the case over the 2021 gambling compact. After months of back and forth, both sides present arguments before three judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

2021

Legal sports betting arrives in Florida as the state and the Seminole Tribe agree to a new compact that includes statewide online and mobile wagering. The state Legislature signs off on the deal between the tribe and the governor during a special session in May 2021. The federal government reviews the compact, as required by law, and allows it to be added to the Federal Register, which does not signal approval.

The deal concludes years of negotiations between Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe. Reporting throughout the early part of 2021 indicates that the two sides are making significant progress, although similar reports in the past proved untrue in the long run.

This year, however, the rapid rise of legal sports betting elsewhere in the United States finally appears to have swayed both the state and the tribe to step into the modern world of wagering.

The compact comes under fire from several lawsuits after DeSantis signs it, casting a cloud over Florida sports betting. In November, the Hard Rock Sportsbook app launches in the state but shuts down a few weeks later after a federal court determines that the compact between Florida and the Seminoles is vacated. The tribe appeals the decision, but as such, the only online sports betting option in the state is no longer available.

2020

With the tribal gambling payments stopped, legislators enter 2020 making big statements about cutting the Seminoles out of gambling in the state to focus on pari-mutuels and private gambling companies.

Sen. Jeff Brandes files a bill to authorize the Florida Lottery to regulate sports betting without the tribe.

In response, the Seminoles flex their muscle in the Legislature. While Brandes’ bill goes nowhere, legislation to forbid the Florida Lottery from offering games based on sporting events passes in the House Gaming Control Subcommittee by a nearly unanimous vote but does not get called for a House vote.

Despite the usual chatter about behind-the-scene negotiations on a comprehensive gambling deal that would include Florida sports betting, there is no attempt at an agreement as the session comes to an end on March 13.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the latest Florida sports betting proposal would allow the tribe to serve as the host for mobile sports betting statewide. The tribe would then resume and substantially increase its revenue-sharing payments to the state.

However, the proposal would allow pari-mutuels to continue offering designated-player card games. Seminole attorney Marc Dunbar states in an interview with LSR that it doesn’t make financial sense for Florida sports betting to get the Seminoles to give up their dispute of designated-player games.

2019

With the agreement between the Seminoles and former Gov. Rick Scott to extend the tribal gambling payments to the state coming to an end, renegotiating the compact is a focus of the Florida Legislature.

Senate President Bill Galvano, who handled the previous compact, tasks Sen. Wilton Simpson to work with the Seminoles. Simpson works out a tentative agreement with the tribe. It would have paid the state at least $500 million a year in return for pledging to shut down the designated card games at state pari-mutuels, among other items.

Tribal casinos and pari-mutuels would have been able to offer sports betting, with the pari-mutuels paying a cut of the revenues to the Seminoles. However, Gov. Ron DeSantis refuses to sign off on the deal. In response, the Seminoles tell the governor they will stop making annual payments of about $350 million to the state “until the illegal banked card game issue is resolved.”

2018

The Seminole Tribe supports the passage of Amendment 3 in the November election. Amendment 3 prohibits the Legislature from authorizing new casino gambling. Any expansions of gambling not only need to be approved by but also initiated by voters.

This makes it impossible for future Legislatures to legalize Florida sports betting without working with the Seminole.

Prior to 2018

A 1991 opinion from then-Attorney General Robert Butterworth made offering DFS in Florida a dicey situation. Before DFS was even a dream, Butterworth opined that the operation of a fantasy sports league in Florida would violate state law. For this reason, Yahoo Daily Fantasy prohibits people in Florida from playing on its site.

Florida sports betting FAQ

Who oversees sports betting in FL?

The Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering handles other gambling regulations in the state, including the authority to carry out the state’s oversight responsibilities in accordance with the provisions outlined in the compact with the Seminole Tribe.

Is Florida sports betting legal?

Yes. The compact agreed upon by all parties includes online betting on sports in Florida. Hard Rock Bet is available now for all eligible users.

Who can bet on sports in Florida?

Anyone over 21 can bet on sports in Florida. Excluded customers included key personnel from pro and college sports teams, including coaches, players, trainers, and officials, as well as referees.

Who is the Seminole Tribe?

The Seminole Tribe is a Native American tribe located in Florida. The tribe owns the exclusive right to offer all forms of casino-style gambling in the state, including sports betting in Florida.

The tribe owns and operates the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, the largest casino complex in the region, among other venues.

Some sports betting websites say they accept bets from the United States. Are those legal options?

No. Currently, no sportsbooks are licensed at the federal level, meaning all US sportsbooks are licensed at the state level. Any website that suggests it accepts betting from anywhere in the US is a website that operates offshore. It is not legal for those sites to accept bets from US citizens, and those sites offer no protection to those who bet on them.