November 1, 2021, became a big day for all Florida sports bettors: it was the date when legal wagering on sports was finally launched, and the first legal online betting site opened its doors. Were Florida gamblers patiently waiting until the 2021 fall? Obviously not: many US offshore sites welcomed customers from Florida and did not violate any local laws, but now, as the first license is granted to a local bookmaker, things may change.
This article will give you a detailed review of sports betting in Florida and answer all burning questions. You will know about legal online sports betting platforms, offshore options, and laws concerning offshore betting. Besides, we are sure that the legal betting market will develop very quickly, and there will be much more officially licensed online and retail sportsbooks for in-person betting. We created detailed instructions on Florida betting law and available sportsbooks with all nuances of using them in the Sunshine State to prepare you for this industry boost.
Best Florida Sports Betting Sites
There is a good reason why we named this sportsbooks list like this instead of ‘Top 10 legal Florida sports betting sites. In fact, there is only one legal sportsbook in Florida: it is a Hard Rock Sportsbook app owned by the Seminoles tribe. The Seminoles have already signed some agreements with the other brands. Various other tribal casinos are working on integrating the sports betting market in Florida, too, but it’s not done overnight.
Thus, when we speak about legal sportsbooks in Florida, we only mean the Hard Rock app. As an alternative, gamblers can use offshore betting sites that are trusted by sports bettors in the USA and worldwide. This alternative is not perfectly legal but is widely used without any severe consequences for gamblers.
So, our list will mainly consist of the sites that accept bettors from Florida but do not have their local licenses.
The short answer to this question is yes: Florida authorities officially signed all bills to legalize sports betting. However, it does not mean that local gamblers can dive into the ocean of various sports betting and casino gambling: today, only a single mobile app is legally available.
One of the key figures in the whole story is the Seminole Tribe, the famous Hard Rock Café chain owners, and the biggest Florida casino. The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino used to have a monopoly on all kinds of gambling entertainment in Florida. Still, it did not accept sports bets due to the PASPA, an act banning sports wagering on the whole territory of the United States.
Now that the PASPA is repealed and Florida accepted new laws for sports betting, Hard Rock Entertainment released their mobile sports betting app, which started accepting customers on November 1. More importantly, the Gaming Compact between Florida authorities and the tribe states that Seminoles have the exclusive right to conduct sports betting activities in the state.
In fact, it left no other options except semi-legal offshore casinos and sportsbooks, although the US industry giants like DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetRivers may take up the torch soon.
Besides, retail sportsbooks with brick-and-mortar betting kiosks are most likely to come to Florida upon an agreement with Seminoles, too, but it’s hard to predict how much time it will take.
We mentioned earlier a little bit about offshore online sportsbooks: current legislation does not strictly prohibit offshore bookmakers; however, local authorities will not fight for your rights if a bookie scams you. So, you better make sure you deal with trusted companies: even if they are not registered in Florida, they must at least have a strong reputation in other regions.
Florida Sports Gambling Law Timeline
As you already know, the story began with the repealing of PASPA federal law: in 2019, the federal sports betting ban was over. Sports betting legalization became up to every state’s authority, so, in 2020, senator Jeff Brandes filed the first bill that was aimed to make sports betting legal. In late August 2021, the state government signed an agreement with the Seminole. He gave the tribe an exclusive right to hold sports betting entities and offer bookmaking entertainment to Florida residents. Such compacts have been allowed since 1998, according to The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act; however, tribes were only allowed to organize gambling services on tribal lands before.
The Gaming compact between Florida and Seminole Tribe raised much noise among competitors and resulted in various new lawsuits from the Bonita Springs Poker Room and the Magic City Casino. There is no final decision about their lawsuits, but November 1, 2021, became the first day of the Hard Rock Sportsbook app, released by the Seminole, to become an exclusive legal sports betting app in Florida.
Online Betting in Florida: What to Consider When Choosing a Bookie
You now know that Florida is not the most generous region in terms of a bookie’s choice; still, things may become different as Sunshine State is just in the beginning of its way to legalizing and launching sports betting.
Thus, it might be pretty natural for gamblers to opt for other bookmakers that may offer better customer service, more competitive odds, or some other perks. In this block, we will discuss what exact perks are a must-have for a good sportsbook and what are the things you should avoid. We remind you again: offshore betting is not legal in Florida, so if you want to stay as clean as a whistle, just follow the official order to use nothing by the Hard Rock app. You will unlikely be severely punished if you opt for the other sites, but no one will guarantee your safety in this case.
Even if you decide to use a sportsbook without a local Florida license, there still must be some: for instance, you can find many offshore sportsbooks working under New Jersey, Curacao, or Malta Gaming Authority permits. If you can’t find any information about a site’s gambling license, don’t risk: you will not only have a high chance to be scammed but will most likely find no decent betting options, deposit methods, and bonuses.
The more sports you see at a sportsbook, the better their software provider is. A good bookie does not need to have all sorts of disciplines you can even think of, but in an ideal scenario, you can find at least twenty options in the line. However, coverage also matters, and the large selection of disciplines will not be much helpful if you can not wager on any outcomes but the ones in a Moneyline, Handicaps, and Totals.
Available Types of Bets
Large and medium sports betting sites usually try to provide customers with a generous selection of bet types, at least for major events. You will hardly find many markets for a small local darts tournament, but if a bookmaker has less than two hundred betting options in a Premier League match coupon, it must become a red flag for you.
Some sportsbooks focus on particular bet categories: for instance, some bookmakers have an excellent selection of player props, while the others pay much attention to handicaps. Take some time to check the strongest sides of a selected bookmaker and always compare offers at various sites.
If you want to wager on Florida sports teams, then check what are the lines for matchups with Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Heat Orlando Magic, etc., and make sure you know all restriction in terms of backing college or professional sports teams. At the moment, there are no limitations for college and professional sports, but some sites may exclude props from college match coupons.
Deposit and withdrawal methods
The cashier is one of the most important things in any sports betting site. It goes without saying that it must be secure and allow gamblers to make instant transactions safely, but another important thing is the currently available selection of payment methods.
Some doubtful small sportsbooks are offering you to deposit and withdraw using Western Union or сryptocurrency wallets in the best case.
It is usually a red flag: if you see no embedded payment option and clearly see that a bookmaker does not cooperate with any trusted banking systems, simply avoid it. On the other hand, you can be sure in a bookie offering you a wide range of reputable payment options, including Visa and Mastercard cards, various e-wallets like PayPal, Neteller, or Skrill, and bank transfers and prepaid cards.
Most sports betting sites lure new customers with their special welcome offers. The most typical welcome bonus is a deposit match when a sportsbook gives you some free cash depending on your initial deposit amount. For instance, if you deposit $100, a 100% welcome bonus can boost your deposit by another $100.
Another popular bonus is a free bet: you also receive some free funds, but you can use it for a single wager without splitting the full amount. Both deposit match and risk-free bet bonuses can be offered for existing customers, too: for instance, if they made some qualifying bets to take part in a promotion or used special promo codes.
Below we gathered information on bonuses available at the top popular Florida sports betting sites.
FanDuel Daily Fantasy Sports
Welcome deposit bonus
20% Deposit Match Up To $500
Welcome deposit bonus
20% Deposit Match Up To $500
Hard Rock Sportsbook
Welcome deposit bonus + free bet
100% deposit match up to $1,000/$100 free bet
Welcome deposit bonus
50% Deposit Match Up To $250
Live Betting Availability
Live betting is a must for every modern sportsbook: it is more fun and lucrative, according to more than 70% of gamblers. Thus, it makes no sense to opt for a platform without in-play markets but mind the live betting quality. It is essential that a site downloaded quickly, had enough betting options for every sports betting event, and made it convenient to place bets instantly.
Basically, it is definitely a matter of taste: you might find some sites perfect, while we complain about their inconvenience. However, most modern bettors opt for minimalistic and simple platforms allowing you to access all the most important sections: cashier, live and pre-match markets, and bet slip. It will be perfect if you can customize your account and fix quick bet settings, select odds format, and add some links to favorites.
As the only legal sports betting option in Florida comes with a mobile app, you can simply go with it and not care much about the other facilities.
However, if you want to choose something else, it makes sense to check if an app is available in your region and works fine to deliver you a satisfying experience.
Further, we will show you several sportsbooks with good betting apps; however, not all of them will be available in Google Play and App Store in Florida. You can still download and use them whenever you travel to other approved states.
Whatever online service you use, no matter if it is a sports betting site, a casino app, or an Internet shop, you definitely want to get professional customer support whenever needed. Thus, it is an essential part of an online sportsbook: if you have any issues with your deposits, withdrawals, or have any questions about betting rules or bonus terms and conditions, you must have a helpful employee who will solve your problem quickly.
We recommend you avoid sites that do not publish their contact numbers and email addresses; the best option is a sportsbook with a special help center section that contains contact methods and some sports betting FAQs and glossaries for your convenience. You can send a couple of simple questions to the customer support team and see how quickly and professionally they reply: you will have at least a little impression of their performance. Don’t forget to check reviews, too!
Mobile Betting: What is the Best Sports Betting App Legal in Florida?
The first Florida sports betting site came as a betting app available for iOS and Android systems. There are more bookies with decent mobile apps and even special bonuses for app users, but most of them are restricted in Florida and other states where they perform as offshore bookmakers. You can safely use the Hard Rock Sportsbook app, but it might be hard to download alternative options; you can still use offshore sports betting sites in mobile browsers instead.
Available in Florida
Hard Rock Sportsbook
Sports betting in Florida has just officially started, so there are more things to happen in legislation. At the moment, only one sportsbook is available as a legal sports betting facility, so Florida bettors cannot even visit a brick-and-mortar casino to make their wagers. Using offshore bookies is not very welcome, but, on the other hand, it is not a crime either unless it is a local illegal sportsbook.
Overall, the situation seems to be a bit complicated: the influence of the Seminoles tribe makes it difficult to launch sports betting sites and retail kiosks as an alternative to Hard Rock in Florida. However, the other gambling brands are striving to take their place in the Florida betting industry and file various new bills. It is hard to say what the outcome will be, but overall the new era of sports betting in Florida has just begun, and we can’t deny these are perfect news!
Is it legal to bet on sports in Florida?
Yes, Florida legalized sports betting; however, there is only one legal mobile app available in the state. The Hard Rock Entertainment who has an exclusive right to provide offline and online gambling activities to Florida citizens owns the app. We will keep an eye on the next changes in legislation and new retail and online sportsbooks in Florida.
Will I need to be a Florida resident to bet online?
At the moment, legislation does not prevent you from downloading a Florida betting app when you are physically in Florida. This, if you do not permanently reside in Florida, you can still use its sportsbook when you visit the state.
Is it safe to bet on sports in Florida?
It is totally safe if you use legal apps and sportsbooks — the ones with a local Florida gambling license. If you opt for any other bookmakers, you will get involved into illegal gambling and may become a victim of fraud.
Are there any terms and conditions to get a bonus on Florida betting sites?
The only Florida betting app offers a generous welcome bonus to everyone who registered at the platform and made a qualifying deposit. If you are looking for information about offshore betting brands, we recommend you to check terms and conditions separately for each bonus at every website as they may change.
Last updated on 25 Jan 2023- 11:30
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