Florida online gambling options are fairly limited, but recent moves could see a trend that would loosen up restrictions.
The Sunshine State is home to a number of tribal casinos, race tracks, and cardrooms. Florida allows gambling at its land-based properties, but online options have remained out of reach in the state for some time.
There’s a glimmer of hope for online gambling enthusiasts in Florida, however. State Senator Jeff Brandes introduced a bill that would legalize retail and online sports betting in Florida. The bill did not move forward, but it indicates that Florida is at least willing to consider online gambling.
As Florida moves forward and pursues online gaming legislation, lawmakers must consider the needs of the Native American tribes who run many of the state’s casinos.
For now, most forms of online gambling appear to be on the distant horizon in Florida.
Florida Online Gambling At A Glance
|Type Of Online Gambling||Legal Status In Florida|
|Online Casino||Illegal in Florida|
|Online Sports Betting||Illegal in Florida|
|Online Horse Race Betting||Legal in Florida|
|Online Lottery||Lottery tickets are available only at Florida’s licensed retailers|
|Daily Fantasy Sports||Offered in Florida, not explicitly legal or illegal by state law|
|Sweepstakes Casinos||Available in Florida|
|Sweepstakes Poker Sites||Available in Florida|
Sweepstakes Casinos For Florida Players
With no real money online casinos available in the state, Florida players may find sweepstakes casinos as an alternative option. Chumba Casino and LuckyLand Casino are two of the most popular online sweepstakes casinos.
Florida sweepstakes casinos look and feel a lot like full-fledged real money online casinos, but they function differently.
When you play at a sweepstakes casino site, you spend money in exchange for in-game currency, which you then use to play the games offered by the site. The in-game currency usually has a name like “coins.”
Purchasing coins also gives you a small allotment of a secondary currency, sometimes called sweeps cash or sweeps coins. Here’s the difference: coins have no monetary value and can’t be redeemed for cash. Sweeps coins do have value and can be redeemed for cash prizes.
The key factor that allows these sites to operate even in states with strict anti-gambling laws is Sweeps Cash. Outside of the small amount you’ll receive when you purchase coins, you can also mail in a request for some sweeps coins. The company will credit your account with those mail-request sweeps coins, allowing them to use the sweepstakes model of operations.
Sweepstakes casinos almost always have a wide variety of games available. Blackjack, baccarat, roulette, and slots are all common, but you’re sure to find others as well.
Check out our full guide to Sweepstakes Casinos In The US.
Florida Online Gambling: What’s Available?
Even though sports betting has made a lot of progress in the Sunshine State, there’s still plenty to enjoy for Florida gambling enthusiasts. Below we offer an overview of various online gambling options and where they stand in Florida.
Online Horse Race Wagering
Florida hosts many physical racetracks that offer pari-mutuel horse race betting. For those looking to get in on the action online, there are plenty of sites that provide horse race betting to Floridians.
In Florida, online horse race betting is one of few forms of gambling that’s completely regulated and legal. Bettors can place wagers on races from around the world–not just races that take place in Florida.
TVG, TwinSpires, and BetAmerica are all available in Florida. Each site has pros and cons, but they all offer a great horse race betting experience. You can live stream multiple races at a time to track your bet. The sites have helpful guides to teach you the ins and outs of pari-mutuel wagering.
Like the sweepstakes casinos we outlined above, sweepstakes poker sites are another option in states like Florida that don’t permit real money online casinos.
Online poker is prohibited in the state. But sweepstakes sites operate under a different model that allows them to offer their games. In fact, the same company that owns and operates Chumba Casino also owns Global Poker, the most popular sweepstakes poker site.
On a site like Global Poker, you purchase coins to use in the game, and each purchase grants you some sweeps cash. The mail-in offer for free sweeps currency is available as well, which means the company offering the poker site can classify themselves as a sweepstakes site.
Learn more about how Sweepstakes Poker Sites work.
Florida is one of many states where Daily Fantasy Sports sites can operate even though laws surrounding the platforms are murky at best.
Florida doesn’t have any laws that explicitly legalize or prohibit Daily Fantasy Sports. Some lawmakers and state officials have made statements one way or the other, but there’s no formal law in place to confirm opinions on either side. As a result, sites like DraftKings and FanDuel continue to offer Daily Fantasy Sports to Florida players.
Most arguments about the legality of Daily Fantasy Sports take place at a high level. Operators and lawmakers duke it out over whether DFS constitutes a game of chance. There are rarely consequences for individual players, and that looks to be the ongoing case in Florida.
Given the recent push by some legislators for legal online sports betting, DFS is unlikely to be prohibited in the state anytime soon.
Florida strictly prohibits the sale of lottery tickets over the internet. This doesn’t look like it will change in the near future, either.
Instead, Florida Lottery players have to purchase tickets and instant games at a licensed retailer. Fortunately, there are more than 13,000 licensed Lottery sellers in the state, so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding a place to play.
There are no real-money online casinos available to Florida players.
Some reports emerged in 2019 of efforts to push for expanded gambling options in the state. The rumored deal would have allowed Florida’s Seminole Tribe exclusive rights to offer online gambling so long as they shared a significant portion of revenue with the state.
However, nothing came of the rumored bill. Online casinos remain prohibited in the Sunshine State. The outlook may seem bleak, but even rumored discussions show the state’s willingness to change its stance toward online gaming. It’s possible Florida could move forward with expanded online options in the future.
Online Sports Betting
If any currently prohibited form of online gaming will come to Florida, our bet is that sportsbooks will be first.
Though they’re outlawed now, legislators like State Senator Jeff Brandes have shown interest in pushing for legalized sports betting in Florida. Brandes argues that the state could benefit from added revenue, and players would benefit from having a regulated and sanctioned sports betting presence.
Sports betting looks like it’s a matter of “when,” not “if” for Florida. The Seminole Tribe of Florida has a strong presence in the state, and any deal that legalizes online sports betting will likely need to have the tribe’s blessing. It could take a while for the state government and the Seminole Tribe to come up with a framework that benefits everybody. But signs point to eventual legalization in the state when they finally agree.
Florida’s Online Gambling History
Most of Florida’s history with online gambling is still in the making as the state, lawmakers, and tribes find the best path forward. However, many developments on the federal level led to the ever-increasing possibility of legal online gambling in the state.
Two moves by the federal government shaped the online gambling landscape as we know it today. These put every state in a position of unique power, Florida included.
First is the Wire Act of 1961, which originally prohibited all forms of online betting. The Act itself has seen a lot of back and forth, with countless agencies and government departments flip-flopping their stances on what, exactly, it covers. In 2011, a federal judge declared that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting. This paved the way for many states to legalize online casinos and poker rooms.
Second is the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA. SCOTUS declared PASPA unconstitutional in 2018. This opened the door for each state to regulates sports betting within its own framework. Since then, a number of states launched full-scale sports betting, including online offerings. This includes New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Florida Plays Catch-Up
Many states moved quickly following the landmark PASPA decision. Florida has yet to make up its mind with regard to online betting.
Though horse race betting online has been legal for years, the state still has a long road ahead to authorize other forms of internet gaming.
State Senator Jeff Brandes introduced a sports betting bill in November of 2019, though little has come of it. The Florida legislature adjourned without moving the initiative forward, bringing the bill to a standstill. This doesn’t mean hope is lost, though. The state could still pass measures to legalize online betting this year. If that happens, Floridians likely wouldn’t be able to place bets until late 2021 at the earliest due to time-consuming licensing and regulation processes.
Gambling In Florida
Florida plays host to plenty of gambling options outside of the online space. The state has multiple racetracks and cardrooms in addition to its land-based casinos.
The state offers a few unique gambling options. This includes cruise ship excursions into international waters, which have been allowed since 1984. Following the introduction of those trips, the state approved its lottery two years later in 1986.
Pari-mutuel betting on horse and greyhound races has been allowed since 1931. Further, racetracks can host poker rooms and slot machines as well. Greyhound racing will become illegal in Florida as of 2021, however. 2001 brought poker to Florida at the state’s racetracks and tribal casinos.
Commercial casinos aren’t allowed in the Sunshine State, but there are several tribal casinos in operation. The Seminole Tribe operates most of the state’s casino properties.
Recent bills have made moves to expand Florida’s gambling presence, but they haven’t moved forward. Any significant gambling expansion in the state will require the Seminole Tribe and state legislators to come to an agreement that works for all parties.
Florida Gambling Quick Facts
|Is lottery legal in Florida?||Yes, but you cannot purchase tickets online. Retail-only.|
|Does Florida have racetracks?||Yes.|
|Does Florida have casinos?||Yes, Florida is home to tribal casinos.|
|What is Florida’s minimum gambling age?||21 for slots and table games, 18 for lottery, DFS, horse racing, bingo, and poker|
|Who regulates Florida casinos?||The Florida Division of Consumer Services and the National Indian Gaming Commission|
|What else can I bet on in Florida?||Greyhound racing is available, but a ban on the practice goes into effect on 2021|
Florida Casino And Racino Overview
Florida’s rich land-based gambling scene has a lot to offer for players. The state boasts plenty of tribal casino properties alongside racetracks that offer poker and slot machines.
The state’s unique laws mean that certain properties can only offer a specific selection of games. For example, Florida racetracks are eligible to offer poker rooms and slot games, but can’t host other table games like blackjack or baccarat. That right sits with the tribal properties.
This has led to some interesting developments in the state. Some racetracks offer extremely limited racing events to meet the minimum requirements set forth by the state that allow those properties to operate card rooms. Still, Florida players have no shortage of options when it comes to land-based gaming. Below is a table of gaming properties in the state including location and property type.
Florida is unique among US states in that also offers Jai-Alai, a sport in which players propel a ball at a wall at high speeds using a racket-like apparatus. Jai Alai is often used in pari-mutuel betting. Some of Florida’s racetracks also feature Jai Alai matches that allow wagers.
Casinos And Racetracks In Florida
|Big Easy Casino||Hallandale Beach||Racino|
|Calder Casino & Race Course||Miami Gardens||Racino|
|Casino Miami Jai-Alai||Miami||Racino|
|Creek Entertainment Gretna||Gretna||Racino|
|Dania Jai-Alai||Dania Beach||Racino|
|Daytona Beach Racing and Card Club||Daytona Beach||Racino|
|Derby Lane||St. Petersburg||Racino|
|Ebro Greyhound Track||Ebro||Racino|
|Flagler Dog Track and Magic City Casino||Miami||Racino|
|Fort Pierce Jai-Alai and Poker||Fort Pierce||Racino|
|Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino||Hallandale Beach||Racino|
|Hamilton Jai-Alai and Poker||Jasper||Racino|
|Hialeah Park Race Track||Hialeah||Racino|
|Jacksonville Kennel Club||Orange Park||Racino|
|Melbourne Greyhound Park||Melbourne||Racino|
|Miccosukee Resort and Gaming Center||Miami||Tribal Casino|
|Naples/Fort Myers Greyhound Track||Bonita Springs||Racino|
|Ocala Poker and Jai-Alai||Ocala||Racino|
|Orange City Racing and Card Club||Orange City||Racino|
|Orange Park Kennel Club||Orange Park||Racino|
|Palm Beach Kennel Club||West Palm Beach||Racino|
|Pensacola Greyhound Track||Pensacola||Racino|
|Pompana Park||Pompano Beach||Racino|
|Sarasota Kennel Club||Sarasota||Racino|
|Seminole Casino Brighton||Okeechobee||Tribal Casino|
|Seminole Casino Coconut Creek||Coconut Creek||Tribal Casino|
|Seminole Casino Immokalee||Immokalee||Tribal Casino|
|Seminole Classic Casino||Hollywood||Tribal Casino|
|Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood||Hollywood||Tribal Casino|
|Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tampa||Tampa||Tribal Casino|
|Tampa Bay Downs||Tampa||Racino|
|Tampa Greyhound Track||Tampa||Racino|
|Victory Casino Cruises||Cape Canaveral||Casino Cruise Ship|
Major Players In Florida
The Seminole Tribe is by far the most influential casino organization in the Sunshine State. Of Florida’s seven casino properties (excluding racinos/cardrooms), the Seminole Tribe owns six of them.
This makes the Seminole Tribe a driving force in Florida’s gambling law. The tribe is heavily involved in pursuing legislation that allows them to expand their presence and gambling offering in the state.
Greyhound racing has been around in Florida for some time, as evidenced by the many dog racing tracks listed in the table above. However, this form of gambling won’t be around much longer in Florida. A 2018 constitutional amendment outlawed greyhound racing in the state, giving operators until the end of 2020 to adhere to the ban.
Essentially, this means greyhound racing will go away in 2021. The decision has been challenged, but a federal judge shot down the challenge and the ban will remain.
Some tracks have already stopped holding races.
Florida gamblers can participate in the state lottery, which has been active since 1986.
Online lottery is still somewhat of a rarity in the US, and Florida is no exception. Though other states like Pennsylvania have embraced internet sales, other markets lag behind.
Florida lottery tickets can be purchased only at licensed retailers. There are more than 13,000 available across the state. Games available include draw games, scratch-offs (instant tickets), and second-chance drawings.
Florida players can participate in Mega Millions and Powerball, two multi-state lottery draw games with massive jackpots.
If you’d rather not visit a retailer multiple times to purchase entries in a draw game, the Florida lottery offers Advance Play. Advance play lets you purchase tickets for drawings days, weeks, or months in advance.
Florida Horse Racing
Horse racing is legal in Florida, and the state has plenty of racetracks. There are a few key things to note, though.
Florida law allows racetracks to offer slot machines, video poker, and poker tables, earning most properties the “racino” moniker. Some tracks strive to meet the minimum racing requirement to allow them to offer casino games, so the quality of races can differ from one track to the next.
The Apopka Voice offers a helpful guide to the best racetracks in Florida if you’re looking to bet on a quality horse race.
Online horse race betting is perfectly legal in Florida as well. If you don’t want to travel to place a bet, we recommend checking out TVG, BetAmerica, or TwinSpires for online wagering.
More Information On Florida Gambling
Here are a few helpful links where you can learn more about gambling in Florida:
- Seminole Tribe Gaming Facilities Overview
- TripAdvisor’s Best Florida Casino Hotels
- The Apopka Voice’s Top Horse Racing Tracks In Florida
- Florida Lottery Homepage
- Florida Gaming Watch Website: Updates on Florida gambling law
Florida Gambling FAQ
Is it legal to play at casinos in Florida?
Yes. Florida has a number of casinos that allow legal gambling. Anyone 21 or older can visit a casino and play the games on offer.
Florida also has many racinos: properties that feature pari-mutuel wagering on horse races and a selection of slots and poker. These are legal as well, though they have fewer types of games due to state law.
Six of the state’s seven full-fledged casinos are owned by the Seminole Tribe.
Is it safe to gamble online in Florida?
This depends on the type of online gambling. Florida online gambling options are extremely limited.
Florida players can legally place horse racing bets online through sites like TVG or TwinSpires.
Sports betting sites and online casinos, however, are prohibited in Florida. Betting on these sites is illegal and could put your information at risk. The same goes for online poker sites. If you find an online gambling site available in Florida, chances are it’s an offshore or grey market operator who isn’t regulated under US or Florida law.
Do Florida casinos have games for gamblers on a budget?
Absolutely. Most casinos have a wide variety of games with different minimums. These include penny slots and table games with low minimum bets.
Our advice: peruse the casino floor for smaller minimums, and if you feel lost, ask an employee for low-budget games.
Who owns Florida’s casinos?
The Seminole Tribe owns six of Florida’s seven casinos. The Miccosukee Tribe owns the seventh.
A variety of companies own and operate Florida’s many racinos.
Is it legal to gamble online in Florida?
In some cases, yes.
Florida state prohibits online casinos and sports betting sites. But the state has shown some promising signs that may lead to future legislation allowing them.
For now, players can bet on horse races online or participate in sweepstakes sites like Chumba Casino or Global Poker.
Does it make sense to join a casino’s loyalty program?
Yes, especially in Florida. The Seminole Wild Card program gives you rewards at each one of the tribe’s six casinos. This makes it especially valuable if you plan to visit their properties frequently.
For other properties, it still makes sense. If you visit often, you’ll get added benefits from being a rewards member, such as meal discounts, free slots credit, and much more.
Is online sports betting legal in Florida?
No. But it may be on the horizon.
State Senator Jeff Brandes introduced a bill that would legalize online sports betting by giving exclusive rights to Florida’s tribal properties.
Right now the bill is stalled, but there’s still a possibility it could move forward. Even if it doesn’t, the bill still indicates support for online sports betting in the Sunshine State, and it could mean Florida will see online sports betting legalized in the future.
Does DraftKings have an app for Florida players?
Yes, but it’s strictly for Daily Fantasy Sports. You won’t find DraftKings’ sportsbook app in Florida because online sports betting is not yet legal in the state.
Florida state neither prohibits nor allows DFS under state law. Operators like DraftKings and FanDuel continue to offer Daily Fantasy Sports contests to Florida players.
Do I have to be a Florida resident to gamble at the state’s casinos?
No. Anyone 21 or older with a valid ID can gamble at Florida casinos. You do not need to be a resident to enjoy Florida’s gambling scene.
Will Florida legalize online sports betting or casino games this year?
Possibly. But 2021 looks far more likely.
Recent attempts to legalize online sports betting in Florida were met with opposition and stalled. The Seminole Tribe is a powerful organization with six casinos in the state, and they can influence legislation. It’s unlikely for a sports betting bill to pass without the tribe’s support.
Even on the off chance Florida legalizes sports betting in 2020, it wouldn’t launch until much later. Launches can’t happen until all regulatory and licensing processes are in place.