On November 1st, 2021, legal online sports betting technically became a reality in the Sunshine State of Florida… sort of. Managed solely by the Seminole Tribe of Florida through an exclusive compact with the state, the Florida sports betting market will mark somewhat of a departure from what we have seen so far in most other states. Monopolies have typically been frowned upon in favor of more open markets, featuring many choices.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the Florida sports betting market won’t eventually evolve in this way through sub-contracting and affiliate agreements, but early signs have been Seminole-centric. At this time the Seminole Tribe of Florida maintains a controlling interest in how FL sports betting (both live and online) develops in the months and years to come. Due to this fact, the only mobile sportsbook to hit the market so far in the state is Hard Rock Sportsbook, though its run was short lived… more on that later.
The reason the state gave the Seminole tribe monopoly power over sports betting is simple. In exchange for the legal exclusivity that Florida is granting the Seminole Tribe, the state was guaranteed a minimum, total term payment of $2,500,000,000 ($2.5 billion) for the first five years of the agreement, plus an undetermined amount of revenue sharing that could be tacked-onto the final tally.
There could be plenty of adjustments to how legal live and online sports betting functions in 2022, as many of the specifics (including some general rules, guidelines, and the simple question of whether or not its legal…) have yet to be completely promulgated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, or settled in any number of potential court battles. Nonetheless, this page will go over what we know so far about legal sports betting in Florida, what customers might expect now and in the future, plus the general betting requirements for those that want to place legal online sports bets in the Sunshine State.
FL Sportsbook Alternatives: Over/Under Player Props
Florida’s on-again, off-again sports betting industry
The Florida online sports betting market has been dreadfully complicated to cover and keep up with, so we’re going to use this section to give you the gist of what’s going on right now, as simply as we can put it.
So, back in April the state of Florida reached an agreement with the Seminole tribe to move forward with sports betting. They submitted the compact to the federal government for approval, and got the necessary go-aheads. Seemingly out of nowhere the Seminole Tribe launched their Hard Rock online sportsbook on November 1st, 2021. They ran a fully functional online sportsbook in the state for several weeks. All was right in the state of Florida. But as Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast, my friend”.
On November 22nd a federal judge nullified the FL sports betting compact. The Seminole’s immediately launched an appeal, but the ruling was upheld. The case was then elevated to U.S. Circuit of Appeals to receive further judgement from a panel of 3 different judges. All the while, Hard Rock continued to accept bets in the state of Florida. Ultimately the Circuit of Appeals ruled 2-1 against the Seminole Tribe, and they were forced to back down. The Hard Rock online sportsbook officially went offline on Saturday, December 4th. As of now, no online sportsbooks are live and accepting bets in the state of Florida. Stay tuned though, this isn’t over yet. We’ll update you as the events play out.
Florida sports betting requirements
To place a legal online sports bet in FL, you need to be physically located within the state’s borders. However, at this time, you will NOT be required to be located on tribal lands when doing so. This is great news for sports fans who have been waiting for more than a decade for legal, online sports betting to become a reality in Florida. Yet the reality of Florida’s exclusive compact with the Seminole Tribe is viewed negatively by commercial (aka non-tribal) interests. Mainly because: (a) Florida is one of the most populous states in the country; and (b) Florida’s deal with tribal gaming grants the Seminole Tribe a degree of “exclusivity” that places commercial (non-tribal) online sports betting and casino interests at a significant disadvantage in attaining a solid, negotiating foothold.
The circumstances surrounding legal online sports betting in FL could change at any point in the future, but now that the state has signed on to an exclusive deal with the Seminole Tribe, it is unlikely that tribal control will be wrested… regardless of ongoing, high profile legal and lobbyist efforts on behalf of “commercial” gaming interests.
Additional details on sports betting in Florida
To place a wager in Florida, a person must be at least 21 years of age and physically located in the state. As mentioned above, the Seminole Tribe compact with the state of Florida allows for legal online sports betting within the entirety of FL’s state borders — meaning patrons will NOT be required to be physically located on tribal lands to make a legal online sports wager. However, patrons MUST be physically located in Florida to participate in the real money sports betting market online.
Residents of, and tourists/visitors alike that are in Florida will be able to participate. The fact that residence is not required will serve as a big boom for tourism. Those traveling to the state to enjoy beaches, Disney World, concerts or other events, etc., will all be able to place bets. A person’s physical location while participating in the legal online Florida sports betting market will be verified separately through geolocation technology to ensure that the real money wagers that are being placed online are done so legally. Simply put, if you’re not in the state, they’ll know.
Land-Based Casinos in Florida
Even after the ongoing legal challenges are settled, we expect sports betting will eventually be available at the following retail casinos, all of which are owned by the Seminole tribe:
- Seminole Indian Casino – Coconut Creek
- Seminole Indian Casino – Big Cypress
- Seminole Indian Casino – Immokalee
- Seminole Indian Casino – Brighton
- Seminole Indian Casino – Hollywood
- Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Tampa
- Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Hollywood
What Sports Are Available To Wager On In Florida?
The following sports will make up the core of any FL online sportsbook’s offerings:
- Basketball (NBA and NCAA)
- Football (NFL and NCAA)
Types Of Wagers Available In Florida
Pretty much any style of bet that’s not too over the top will be on the menu. This includes:
- Straight Bets
- Totals (Over/Under)
- Odds Boosts
- Proposition Bets
How to Sign Up for an Online Sportsbook Account in FL
Regardless of the brand your betting with, registration with Florida online sportsbooks will be quick and to the point. You’ll need to:
- Provide proof that you are at least 21 years of age (Birth Certificate, Driver’s License, Passport, or other government-issued photo ID)
- Authorizing the online sports betting operator to verify your physical location to ensure the activity is taking place legally within the state of Florida
- Providing full name, physical address, a valid email address, telephone number, and the last four digits of your Social Security Number (SSN)
- Abiding by the full Terms & Conditions set forth by the online sports betting operator, and make an initial deposit using a qualified deposit method
In total, all of these can be accomplished in just a couple of minutes. Oh, and just to expand a bit on the Social Security Number element. While we would encourage you to be quite cautious sharing pieces of your SSN online – legal betting sites must have this information. They use it to verify your identity, confirm you are of age and eligible to bet, and then they let it go. They won’t store it online in a way that could potentially become compromised in the future – it’s a one-time check.
Welcome offers available for FL online sports bettors
Welcome offers and sportsbook bonuses remain at the full discretion of the Seminole Tribe in Florida at this time. They’re the only entity that thus far has thrown their hat into the ring. That said, some of the welcome and bonus offers that we’ve seen so far from the commercial statewide sports betting market in other states include many of the following:
First deposit match bonus
Some sportsbooks may offer first-time depositors a “match” bonus. These offers are correlated to the amount of your first deposit, and typically marked with a percentage. For example, a 100% up to $200 deposit match bonus would mean the sportsbook is offering a bonus equal to the amount of your first deposit, capped at $200. If you deposit $200, you get $200. These offers typically require patrons to play through the bonus amount (or initial deposit amount), sometimes more than once, for the funds to become fully available.
A legal online sports betting operator in Florida may offer first-time customers a “one-off” opportunity to place a real money sports wager without risk – or risk-free. Usually this offer is extended once a patron has made an initial deposit, and the amount of the “risk-free” wager is typically limited to a specific monetary amount. In the event that your first bet loses, the sportsbook comps you a bonus equal to the amount of the bet. It’s a second lease on life, so to speak.
At various times during a sports season, Florida online sports betting operators may offer “odds boosts” that improve the odds on certain bets beyond the normal expected range. These offers are usually offered at very specific times, and often involve a local team like the Miami Dolphins or Tampa Bay Rays. In the event that your wager wins, bets with boosted odds would generally net more money than a standard bet.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida, or any other operator that makes its way to FL in the future, may extend its casino-facing rewards program to legal online sports bettors. The Terms & Conditions of how reward points are accrued and awarded will likely depend on each customer’s sports betting activity along with the concrete rules that are put into place in the future concerning customer rewards. Keep in mind that customers’ loyalty rewards may vary depending on which authorized sportsbook is in charge of the app (for example Hard Rock Rewards, Seminole Wild Card).
A free bet is just that: a bet that doesn’t cost you anything. Free bets are the best type of new customer promotion. They usually come in small amounts like $5 or $10, but they are automatically added to your account and can be used on most bet types. Sometimes you can even get a free bet without making a deposit. Be sure to read the terms & conditions to make sure there aren’t any catches.
As a general blanket statement we always recommend consulting the terms and conditions for every bonus offer that you take on. Knowing all of the details, like the expiration date, wagering requirements, minimum deposit, maximum bonus cap, etc., are all vitally important.
FL Sportsbook Deposit Methods
As mentioned above, the Hard Rock Sportsbook is now in a bit of legal limbo. While it was up and running however, the following deposit methods were what it relied upon. Keep in mind that deposits and banking can be done from anywhere, so if you are planning a trip to Florida, feel free to download the app and load your first deposit so you can start betting as soon as you hit the airport baggage claim. Here are the methods that customers can use to fund their legal Hard Rock Sportsbook account in FL:
Instant Bank Transfer
Link your checking account up to your Hard Rock Sportsbook account for quick and easy deposits and withdrawals. Don’t worry, the Sportsbook uses industry-leading security to protect your personal and financial information. Additionally, they are regulated by the state of Florida, which sets strict guidelines for information security.
Add and withdraw funds to your account the same way you pay your friends for dinner. You probably already have a PayPal account, so it will be easy to use it to fund your Hard Rock Sportsbook account.
This option is a bit unusual. Venmo is not a banking option at most major sportsbooks. The company is owned by PayPal and operates similarly, so it is curious why both are offered instead of one or the other. Either way, You can use Venmo to quickly and easily fund your Hard Rock Sportsbook account.
We anticipate that as sports betting matures in the state of Florida, more and more methods for deposit and withdrawal will become available. In-person deposits, credit cards, PayNearMe, and more, all could be on the table.
Legal online Florida sports betting summary
A lot could change in 2022 and beyond for the legal sports betting market in Florida, but for now, the activity is strictly monopolized and controlled by the Seminole Tribe of Florida through its 2021 Gaming Compact with the state. Because of this unusual situation, several questions remain unanswered, including:
- Will this arrangement results in superior or inferior service for legal online sports bettors in Florida?
- Will ongoing court battles alter the outcome of how legal sports betting is marketed and made available in Florida?
- Will “commercial” interests eventually enter the Florida online sports betting market? Either through independent entries or sub-licensing mechanisms authorized by tribal gaming interests?
- Will the Seminole Tribe hold on to its “exclusive” status as the only authorized operator in the state, or sub-contract its licenses out to commercial gaming interests?
- Will Florida come up with a way to combat “illegal” gaming and sports betting activities that have significantly cut into the profit margins of “commercial” interests that currently provide their services in other states?
These are just a few of the questions online sports bettors will find the answers to in years to come, as Florida is a top state for sports betting with plenty of potential from an operator’s perspective. It will take time to see how the legal landscape for online sports betting in Florida shakes out, and whether the state will be used as a blueprint for other jurisdictions that are heavily influenced by tribal interests (such as California). While the particulars surrounding how legal online sports betting works in Florida may remain vague today, look for updated information in coming months and years as the reality of Florida’s Gaming Compact with the Seminole Tribe sinks in, and the corresponding court battles are resolved.