Florida and Sports Betting – Where Does the State Stand?

As we are in 2022, there are quite a few interesting facts that we need to know about sports betting and Florida. From the first glance, Florida is not such a liberal state in terms of local gambling laws, but here you can find most of the gambling games available. Tribal casinos can offer whatever they want except roulette and craps. The local horse racing and dog racing tracks host live races and broadcasts, many of which also operate as “racino” (an establishment that combines a casino and a racetrack). These racinos, if authorized, may also offer slot machines; and many of them even host board games where the players hold the pot (although there are some differences on this issue).

Conservative Gambling Policies

Florida is considered to be a kind of middle state when it comes to its conservative gambling policies. Most of the existing forms of gambling are available in Florida, but largely due to the existence of tribal casinos. It’s hard to say if there could be full-fledged traditional non-tribal casinos in the state, but at the moment there are definitely none. There are racinos here, they are like small casinos physically attached to the racetrack and offering slot machines. Some racinos also offer table games where the players hold the pot (but this puts the house in a very precarious position), and poker is played in all such casinos.

A vote took place in November 2018 on a bill that allowed Florida citizens the opportunity next year to initiate a referendum on expanding the casino industry. Technically, this was a vote on a constitutional amendment that would take away the power to legalize casinos from the state legislature and transfer this power to the citizens of the state.

While Florida might seem conservative in terms of gambling policies, we should also point out that the state has liberal laws regarding Bitcoin betting. At the present moment, it is possible to access different casino games and bet on sports with Bitcoin and other cryptos. In the NFL superbowl odds bitcoin betting is one of the most popular forms of betting, let alone the NBA and other sports.

In such a way Florida is really different from other states and it goes without saying that these laws make the state one of the most attractive ones.

The legality of online gambling in Florida

The State of Florida does not joke with the operators of illegal forms of gambling (which means anyone who operates a form of gambling that has not been specifically licensed and regulated by the state). The text of the law is aimed not only at owners, but also at any employees who may unwittingly commit a serious third-class crime. This is a pretty serious offense, which is why Florida is not the state where you want to conduct unauthorized gambling as an operator, although it has certainly happened. It has laws and penalties for those who engage in unauthorized gambling, which read as follows:

Anyone who plays or participates in any card game, keno, roulette, faro or other gambling, anywhere, using any device, regardless of whether the game is played for money or other valuables, is liable for a second-degree offence punishable by in accordance with section 775.082 or section 775.083.

The key here lies in the phrase “using any device”, which would hide the identity of the person playing from their own computer. In reality, we could not find a single case where a player was arrested, fined or otherwise punished for gambling in his own home.

Florida residents who have lost money in illegal gambling are theoretically entitled to a refund by filing a claim against the person to whom the money was lost. Of course, this would be ineffective in the case of offshore online casinos, because even if the lawsuit wins, the state of Florida will not be able to provide payment to the winning party, since the casino is outside its jurisdiction. Here, as in Connecticut, the person who filed such a lawsuit is exempt from prosecution, so that the lawsuit will not actually be considered an admission of guilt for participating in unauthorized gambling.

There have been arrests in the state for illegal gambling. In addition, Florida is one of the southern states where there are sometimes problems with the so-called “Internet cafes”, where people buy loans and play games on the computers installed in the institution. Such establishments are actually quite common in the southern states, but they get shut down pretty quickly. South Carolina, Alabama, and Texas are a few states facing the same problem.


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