Home Articles The Legality of Online Sports Betting In Florida

The Legality of Online Sports Betting In Florida

Gambling is legal in the United States – however, it does come with some restrictions, especially in terms of interstate and online gambling. While legal under federal law, each state has the freedom to regulate and prohibit gambling within its borders.

Hawaii and Utah are the only two states that have outlawed all forms of this practice, but what is the state of gambling like in Florida? Which forms are allowed and which are prohibited? If you’re a resident or are planning to move there, you should be aware of all the restrictions that the Sunshine State has in place.

Is online sports betting legal in Florida?

While there are forms of gambling that are legal in Florida, unfortunately, online sports betting is not yet allowed in this state. Furthermore, offline sports betting is also not legal. The one exception here is Pari-Mutuel horse racing.

What is more, the Sunshine State has not legalized any forms of online gambling and has kept all of its gambling practices purely offline. The state is currently home to dozens of casinos, many of them tribal. Moreover, there are also casino boats that accept wagers once they are offshore. These venues usually offer slot machines, video and table games, in addition to horse racing.

Why is the online sports betting practice illegal?

Over the last few decades, there have been a number of reforms in the U.S. when it comes to sports betting and the laws that govern it. In an attempt to fight organized crime and racketeering, the government made sports gambling illegal in the 1960s. However, this led to these practices going further underground.

Then, in 1992, the PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) was introduced with the aim of protecting the integrity of sports. It also made gambling on sports games illegal – in all states apart from Nevada. Ever since then, the U.S. has been missing out on the opportunity of making a massive revenue from regulated sports gambling, seeing as how there are currently only twelve states that have legalized sports betting and only five that allow online gambling.

In terms of Florida, this is interesting seeing as how casinos are quite common in the state. In 2011, the legalization of online poker was attempted but subsequently withdrawn. In 2012, it was reintroduced but failed after tribal casinos opposed it. 2013 was the year Florida went even further in cutting back on online gambling by outlawing internet cafés that offered contests which included online poker.

Are there other options?

Luckily, there are some online betting alternatives residents of Florida can opt for. While the previously mentioned offshore betting does not result in legal action, the individuals who decide to partake in these practices should be wary of the risks that this brings along. Seeing as how these sportsbooks are situated in far-off countries and are not subject to regulations, there is no guarantee that everything will go smoothly.

On the other hand, daily fantasy sports could be a good replacement for sports betting while waiting for legislators to introduce changes to state law. There are sites such as FanDuel and DraftKings which accept players from the Sunshine State.

What does the future hold?

How long will we have to wait for changes in this field? Right now, it seems like for a little while longer. In 2018, states were allowed to craft their own legislation and allow sportsbooks to open under their jurisdiction. Many states jumped at this opportunity and legalized sports gambling, and while Florida was expected to present a bill to do it as well, no action was taken. Furthermore, in order to make any changes in the legality of online gambling and sports betting, the citizens will now have to be the ones who initiate a campaign, according to an amendment that passed in 2018.

However, keeping in mind that more and more states are deciding to go down this path, we should expect Florida to do this as well at some point in the future seeing as how there is too much money to be made here for them to simply ignore it. Perhaps they’re just waiting to see how other states fare and see what the best approach is.

But still, we will have to wait and see.

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