Florida Online Sports Betting: When Will Betting Apps Launch

Florida may finally become one of the next states to legalize sports betting. Governor Ron Desantis struck a deal with the Seminole Tribe to ensure sports betting legalization didn’t ice tribal casinos out. The state senate and house of representatives approved a sports betting agreement with the Seminole tribe. This means residents could vote to legalize Florida online sports betting in 2022.

Online Sportsbook Partnerships In Florida 

Since Florida is in the early stages of legalizing sports betting, there aren’t any sportsbook partnerships yet. However, there are a few sportsbooks that tend to pop up first in new markets. They include big brands like DraftKings and FanDuel and new brands like WynnBet. Here’s our full list. 

DraftKings

DraftKings is in more states than any other sportsbook brand. That shouldn’t be surprising. It was a fantasy sport giant before it expanded into sports betting. It also has the resources to go through the arduous process of applying for sports betting licenses in each state it expands to. Whenever Florida legalizes sports betting, bettors should count on DraftKings to be one of the first Florida sportsbooks. 

FanDuel

FanDuel was DraftKings’ biggest fantasy sports competitor and has become one of DraftKings’ largest sports betting competitors. It’s in 10 states, making it one of the largest sportsbook brands in the United States. However, its market share in each state rivals DraftKings. In Michigan, FanDuel secured a 28.3% market share. DraftKings only had 24.5%. Even though it’s in fewer states than DraftKings, FanDuel can capture more of the market in the states it’s in. It’s a force to be reckoned with, and it will certainly apply that same pressure in Florida. 

BetMGM

BetMGM is another competitive first-mover. Like FanDuel, it’s in 10 states. But unlike FanDuel, BetMGM’s market share tends to be lower. In the same Michigan market we named above, BetMGM only captured 19.8% of the market. However, having a fifth of the market isn’t anything to complain about, either. While BetMGM can lose market share to companies like Barstool Sportsbook, it moves fast and capitalizes on a first-mover advantage. It’ll likely be one of Florida’s first sportsbook brands, too. 

Caesars Sportsbook

Caesars Entertainment acquired William Hill in April 2021 and rebranded the UK sportsbook in August 2021. It is in 11 states, which makes it another market-dominant sportsbook company. Caesars Sportsbook is expected to be as popular as William Hill, so we expect it should launch in Florida as well once sports betting is officially legal. 

BetRivers

BetRivers is basically DraftKings with a better rewards program for wealthy bettors. It’s only in eight states, but that’s still a strong showing when less than half the country has legalized sports betting. It’s another fast mover that’s racking up states, and it’s been among the first sportsbooks in previous states, too. In Colorado, it was one of the first four. If it comes to Florida, it may be one of the first there, too. 

WynnBet 

WynnBet is only in five states, but it’s a new brand that only came out in 2020. Launching in five states at that time suggests that WynnBet is launching a fast expansion strategy. The big brands had been expanding since 2018. So, WynnBet will be at a disadvantage while it’s playing catch up. But in its quest to catch up in the market, Florida may see this sportsbook early in the life of the state’s sports betting industry. 

Is Online Sports Betting Legal In Florida?

Under the current agreement, it will be. Florida’s updated gaming compact between the state and the Seminole tribe allows retail and online sports betting. That’s a great sign for Florida’s potential sports betting industry. Most sports betting revenue comes from online sports betting. So, it’s a vital part of any new sports betting industry. Under the agreement, Florida’s tribes would run sports betting but the state would see some of the revenue.

The governor signed the agreement and now it’s with the Department of Interior for review.

How Does Florida Sports Betting Compare To Other States? 

Florida is well-positioned to create a competitive sports betting market. It’s surrounded by deep southern states that have resisted sports betting legalization. In fact, many of Florida’s neighbors are anti-gambling states. To the northwest, Georgia doesn’t allow casino gambling or sports betting. Alabama is a little more permissive. But greyhound racing isn’t going to replace sports betting, and Alabama prohibits casino gambling, too. Mississippi allows retail sports betting, but it’s too far to drive to conveniently place sports wagers. Some bettors will find it convenient to travel to Florida to place sports wagers. 

South Carolina also outlaws sports betting, but Tennessee and North Carolina allow it. So, Florida won’t have a monopoly on South Carolinian bettors. However, people in the southern part of the state may find a vacation further south to Florida worth it for large sports events. 

If it legalizes sports betting, Florida will get a boost from deep southern states with restrictive gambling laws. Since those laws are unlikely to change any time soon, Florida will likely maintain this boost for a long time. However, it could have the opposite effect of spurring deep southern states to legalize sports betting themselves, too. The religious conservatives who believe gambling is inherently wrong will resist. But the liberal wings of these states may not have the same objections to gambling. So, whether Florida’s deep south advantage is sustainable remains to be seen. 

Other Legal Online Gambling Options In Florida 

While Florida offers some good retail gaming options, it cracks down on online gambling. The new gaming compact allows online sports betting, but nothing else by itself. One clause calls for the state and the Seminole tribe to continue negotiating new online gambling games. That caused some hype about online poker and online casinos. But those negotiations will decide what’s legalized next, not the compact alone. Until those negotiations begin, we won’t know exactly what’s coming next. 

With that in mind, here’s where Florida stands on online gambling now and where it will stand if the new gaming compact goes into effect. 

Online Casinos

Online casinos are prohibited under current Florida law. If the new gaming compact goes into effect, online casinos will still be illegal. Online gambling only extends to sports betting, so hopeful casino-goers are out of luck. 

Bettors will find sweepstakes casinos like FunzPoints, but that isn’t the same as casino gambling. Sweepstakes casinos offer free currency and premium currency. The free currency is for fun, but the premium currency can be redeemed for real cash. However, it’s nearly impossible to get enough premium currency to redeem for real money. So, sweepstakes casinos get a lot of their money from currency pack purchases. Sweepstakes casinos change enough to avoid being covered under state gambling law. So, while they’re not real online slots, they may scratch an itch. 

But for bettors who need casino gaming in their lives, Florida’s tribal casinos are still the way to go. 

Online Poker

Online poker is currently prohibited under Florida law. Under the new gaming compact, online poker will still be illegal. Florida has cardrooms where bettors can play poker. There’s just not an online option that mimics that experience. Online poker could be legalized later under the new gaming compact. But that would take place in a separate round of ongoing negotiations. Online poker will be something to watch for in the next few years. But it’s not coming to Florida yet.  

Daily Fantasy Sports

Like most states, Florida allows daily fantasy sports. That was true before the new gaming compact, and it’ll be true afterwards, too. Daily Fantasy Sports has a coveted status. It’s widely considered a skill-based game. That keeps it from being restricted the way other gambling events are. Florida is just another market that’s accepted that daily fantasy sports is skill-based. (If you have a strong background in statistics, then it’s skill based. But for the layman, it’s predominantly chance.)

Horse And Greyhound Racing 

Bettors can bet at horse and greyhound tracks. However, they must be placed in person at the tracks. There may be virtual betting options at the tracks, but there’s no statewide online horse or greyhound betting. That was true before the new gaming compact’s approval, and it’ll be true after. 

Sports Betting

After the new gaming compact is approved, bettors will be able to bet on sports online. Apps and websites like DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and others will be available in Florida. There will be retail options at tribal casinos, too. 

What Types Of Bonuses To Expect At Legal Online Betting Sites 

There are a few different types of bonuses that bettors can find at online sportsbooks. Some are available at online casinos, too. But as we’ve said, online casinos aren’t next on the list of new gambling events coming to Florida. The main two bonuses bettors will find are deposit bonuses and risk-free bets. 

Deposit bonuses are available at sportsbooks and online casinos. Deposit bonuses reward bettors for how much they deposit and wager. Usually, a bettor’s first deposit sets the number of bonus credits that bettors are eligible to win. The money bettors wager after their first deposits will actually release the site credits. Bettors are awarded proportional to their betting activity. The eye-catching ads advertise the maximum number of credits a bettor could win from a deposit bonus. But few bettors can wager enough money in a short amount of time to get $1,000 in site credits from DraftKings. 

Risk-free bets are simpler. They’re only available at sportsbooks. When bettors make their first wagers, they can get the amounts they wagered back up to a certain amount. FanDuel offers a $1,000 risk-free bet. So if bettors lose their first bets, they can get up to $1,000 back in site credits. If bettors win, they don’t get bonus credits. But they get winnings on a $1,000 bet in real money, which is way better anyway. 

With new types of gambling come new bonuses, and Floridians need to know what the ads mean when the new sportsbooks launch. 

Florida Legal Online Sports Betting & Gambling FAQs 

Is Online Gambling Safe?

Done properly, yes. In most states, online gambling is heavily regulated. It requires sportsbook operators to go through intensive background checks and financial histories. That way, the sportsbooks that get licensed are likely to be viable long-term businesses that maintain consumer trust over many years.

Will Online Casino Gambling Be Legal In Florida?

No. At least, not during this round of gaming expansion. Florida’s new gaming compact provides for ongoing negotiations about additional online gambling activities. But the next round of gaming negotiations between the state and the Seminole tribe will determine what comes next. Right now, Florida is only getting online sports betting and a few new retail games at tribal casinos.

Who Will Operate Florida’s New Online Gaming Sites?

Sportsbook operators will partner with tribal casinos. The tribes will give sportsbooks market access. Sportsbooks will get separate licenses to operate their sportsbooks in Florida. The sportsbooks will also follow tribal rules governing sportsbook operations. Tribal gaming already has a robust framework, so sportsbooks will be well regulated in Florida.

How Old Will I Have To Be To Place Sports Wagers In Florida?

21. Even though Florida allows some gambling at 18, sports betting is roped in with casino gambling. That’s because casinos often have sportsbook lounges as part of their offerings. It’s a little arbitrary, but this grouping is largely the reason that high school seniors have to satisfy themselves with daily fantasy sports.

How Do Online Gambling Sites Know Players Are Who They Say They Are?

They’ll ask for personal information, like part or all of a bettor’s social security number. That may be one of the most off-putting parts of the registration process for new sportsbook bettors. However, that identity check ensures sportsbooks don’t accidentally help criminals launder money. It’s also why withdrawals take several days while deposits are instant. 

Are Florida’s Online Casinos Legit?

No. Large sportsbook brands also offer online casinos in other states. However, they won’t in Florida as long as online casinos are illegal. So, bettors should avoid online casinos that skirt around United States law to make themselves available in Florida. Sketchy, unregulated casinos aren’t good for bettors or the marketplace of legitimate gambling companies.

About the Author

Christopher Gerlacher

Christopher Gerlacher is a writer tucked into the foothills of Colorado Springs, Colorado.