Legal Sports Betting In Florida

FloridaFlorida passed the first form of legalized gambling in the state in 1931 by allowing bets on horse racing. In 1987, the state passed legislation to run a state lottery, and as of 2018, has given over $33 billion directly to the Florida education system, funding school construction and improvement projects along with the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship, a college scholarship program available to Florida residents and used by around 170,000 students each year.

When it comes sports betting at a physical location, Florida isn’t likely to join the states who have already passed sports betting legislation anytime soon, following the repeal of PASPA, a law prohibiting states from passing laws on sports betting. Currently, Florida does not have any bills introduced to the state legislature. However, on November 6, 2018, voters in Florida will decide on Amendment 3, a state constitutional amendment giving Florida voters the “exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling in the State of Florida.” If Amendment 3 passes with a 60% majority, the Florida State Legislature would not be permitted to authorize casino gambling through statute or through referring a constitutional amendment to the ballot, making the legalization of sports betting or any other avenues of gambling an unlikely possibility for the foreseeable future.

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Is It Legal To Bet On Sports In Florida?

LegalitiesNow that's the million dollar question, and the answer is both yes and no. Yes, it can be a little confusing, which is precisely why we have created this guide. Despite stringent federal and state laws concerning gambling within the state, believe it or not there are some options for Florida residents seeking to engage in legally sanctioned sports betting. But lets not get ahead of ourselves. In order to adequately answer this question, we need to give you some insight concerning how federal and state laws affect your options.

Federal Laws Affecting Sports Betting In Florida

There are two specific federal laws that hold bearing concerning sports betting in the United States and hence in Florida. We have a page on each of these laws for those of you who would like an in-depth look at them; The Federal Wire Act, and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). These laws combine pretty effectively to prohibit US based online sports betting in most of the United States, including Florida.

The Federal Wire Act prohibits any type of US based online sports betting entity from offering their services across state lines, and the UIGEA law provides regulatory oversight concerning how gambling related transactions can be processed. Both of these laws apply to gambling operations and not to players themselves. While these laws effectively regulate and prohibit much in the way of state side online sports betting, their effectiveness ends at US borders. These laws do not reach beyond the borders of the United States, and do not prohibit US residents from engaging in sports betting either online or offline that is located, licensed and regulated outside of the United States.

State Gambling Laws Affecting Sports Betting in Florida

There are numerous gambling laws in the state of Florida that regulate existing gambling businesses that are allowed to operate. Among those are laws regulating tribal gambling, horse racing, dog racing, card rooms and bingo halls. A negative run in with illegal gambling at Internet Cafes has driven the state to develop laws outlawing these types of business and state regulated online gambling (HB155). On the other hand discussions remain active concerning the possibility of embracing legal online poker gambling within the state. A few efforts have been made to see this through, including HB77, however it failed to pass and no additional bills have been presented. The former governor, Rick Scott, was openly opposed to legalizing any type of online gambling, so it is entirely possible that proponents of online poker will wait until his replacement takes office. Since PASPA's repeal, Florida has not shown any sign of legalizing domestic sportsbooks anytime soon.

History Of Florida Sports

The Sunshine State has a total of nine professional sports franchises among the four major professional sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) and have a combined total of 3 Super Bowl titles (Dolphins 2, Buccaneers 1), 3 NBA Finals championships (Miami Heat 3), 2 World Series championships (Miami Marlins 2), and won the Stanley Cup once (Tampa Bay Lightning). Florida added the state’s first permanent professional sports team to play in a major sports league when the American Football League (which would eventually combine with the NFL) accepted the Miami Dolphins into the league in 1966. The state also has three universities (FSU, Miami, UF) who play in NCAA Division I college football in a Power 5 Conference (SEC: UF; ACC: FSU, Miami).

In addition to the success of the state’s many professional and collegiate sports teams, the state of Florida is known for producing some of the best high school athletic talent in the country across all sports. Coaches, recruiters, and scouts from pro and college teams consistently rank the state as one of the best in the country at training athletes and conditioning them for later success. Exceptional athletes born in the state of Florida include NFL Hall of Famers such as DT Warren Sapp, MLB Ray Lewis, WR Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith, Deion Sanders, MLB greats Chipper Jones and Alex Rodriguez, and NBA Superstars Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, and Hall of Famer David Robinson.

Which Sports Can Florida Residents Bet On?

NFL Teams in Florida

The Dolphins have won two Super Bowls (1972, 1973) and in the 1972 season, finished the season undefeated with 14 wins and 0 losses, making the Dolphins the first and only team to go undefeated throughout an entire season in the Super Bowl era. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers started as an expansion team in 1976 and began their tenure with the NFL by losing 26 games in a row, a record that still stand today, but they would eventually right the ship in the late-1990s, early-2000s by finally winning their first and only Super Bowl in 2002 led by Head Coach John Gruden. Florida added its most recent team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, in 1995 and are looking to build on the success of their 2017 season in hopes of winning their first Super Bowl.

Betting on the 2018 Jacksonville Jaguars

In the 2017 season, the Jaguars were one game away from making a trip to Super Bowl LII, losing 24-20 to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game. It was Doug Marrone’s first season as head coach and many have high expectations for the Jaguars coming into the 2018 season. Several sportsbooks rank the Jaguars odds of winning the Super Bowl somewhere in the latter half of the top 10 teams most likely to win it all. The real question will be if Blake Bortles can go from a liability at quarterback and into one who the team can depend on when the team needs him most. The Jaguars will have one of, if not, the best defenses in the NFL, ranking 2nd in total defense in 2017, but it will be Bortles play at QB that will determine how far they go.

2018 Preseason NFL Championship odds: +1800

Betting on the 2018 Miami Dolphins

Let’s face it: The Dolphins, or any other team in the AFC East, are not going to win the division, let alone the Super Bowl, until Head Coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady decide to leave the Patriots. The Dolphins odds of winning the Super Bowl are among the lowest of all teams in the NFL. Coming off a 6-10 season in 2017, the Dolphins appear to much worse and there are just too many huge question marks for the team to answer. Sure, they did get some help in the secondary by drafting Alabama FS Minkah Fitzpatrick with the 11th overall pick, but the team traded Jarvis Landry, one of the best receivers in the league, after leading the NFL with 112 receptions in 2017 while having multiple QBs throw to him over the course of the season due to injuries at the QB position. The Dolphins will miss his production and bringing in WR Danny Amendola from the Patriots is not a solution. And speaking of injuries, QB Ryan Tannehill did not play a game in 2017 after tearing his ACL in training camp before the start of last season so expecting him be an MVP-caliber QB is not likely, especially considering he’s never proved to be on of the best QBs in the league. Avoid the Dolphins at all cost in 2018.

2018 Preseason NFL Championship odds: +15000

Betting on the 2018 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It seems like, for the past decade anyways, every time the Bucs take one step forward they then proceed to shoot themselves in the foot and must make a trip to the hospital, wondering after the fact “where it all went wrong.” In 2016, it looked like the Bucs were going to turn a corner: The team finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs on the last game of the season. QB Jameis Winston appeared to be shaping into a role-model QB on and off the field. Fast forward to 2017 and wheel on the Bucs bus started to come off. The team started off 2-1 but proceeded to lose five straight games, culminating in their best WR, Mike Evans, getting suspended one game for an sideline altercation against the New Orleans Saints while getting blown out. Winston was injured for a good portion of the season, but once again, Winston made headlines in the worst way with allegations of sexual assault on a female Uber driver, resulting in his suspension for the first 3 games in 2018. This team is a disaster and needs to clean house, so bet elsewhere unless you want your wager to go down with the Bucs sinking ship.

2018 Preseason NFL Championship odds: +9000

College Football Teams in Florida

The three biggest college football programs in the state have combined for a total of 11 national championships (Miami 5, FSU 3, UF 3), 35 conference titles (FSU 18, Miami 9, UF 8), and 8 Heisman Trophy winners, all of whom played quarterback, from FSU with 3: Charlie Ward 1993, Chris Weinkie 2000, Jameis Winston 2013; Miami with 2: Vinny Testaverde 1986, Gino Torretta 1992; and UF with 3: Steve Spurrier 1966, Danny Wuerffel 1996, Tim Tebow 2007. All three teams play in a heated rivalry against one another with FSU-UF and FSU-Miami matchups played annually, and the UF-Miami meeting played intermittently. When all three schools do play each other in the same season, the three schools play for the Florida Cup, which is awarded to a team who defeats the two other schools in the state in the same season, earning them the title of state champion of Florida.

Betting on the 2018 Florida Gators

The Florida Gators come into the 2018 season hoping first-year head coach Dan Mullen, who was the offensive coordinator in Gainesville from 2005-2008, can lead the team back to glory days of competing for SEC titles and national championships on a yearly basis. Mullen needs to do one thing early in his tenure: Fix the quarterback problem. The Gators have been plagued with mostly mediocre to terrible play from their QBs since Tim Tebow graduated in 2009 and former head coach Urban Meyer left in 2010. From 2005-2010, the Gators won two national championships and boasted an 81.3% win rate (65-15), but since 2011, after Urban Meyer left, their win rate plummeted to 59% (52-36) and the continuous “revolving door at QB” is the most likely reason why. Even though Mullen has a great history of developing young talent into NFL-caliber QBs, a list that includes Pro Bowlers Alex Smith and Dak Prescott, he’ll need time to teach and get recruits who fit his system, so don’t bet on the Gators making a run in 2018. However, if the overall QB play shows significant signs of improvement, then the wins will follow behind soon after.

2018 Preseason NCAA Championship odds : +10000

Betting on the 2018 Florida State Seminoles

Willie Taggart takes over the Seminoles football program in Tallahassee, FL following the untimely exit of former head coach Jimbo Fisher after a disappointing 7-6 season. Coaching searches at most of the top universities were already completed due to the rule changes allowing earlier recruiting, the Seminoles had to find some way to replicate his success and fast. Fisher compiled a 78.3% overall win rate (83-23), the highest winning percentage of all former FSU head coaches, winning the national championship in 2013 and the ACC Championship three times. Taggart has the pedigree for success, having been coached by Jack Harbough and his son, Jim Harbough. Going into 2018, Taggart gets RB Cam Akers, who rushed for 1,000 yards as a freshman, for two years along with QB DeAndre Francois back from his season-ending injury, which these two alone could make FSU competitive against every team if Taggart can plug the holes in the offensive line. The biggest challenge Taggart will face is when Clemson, one of the heavy favorites to win the ACC and be national champions this season, comes to town on October 27. How Taggart coaches this game will be a good indicator of what’s to come, but until then, all bets are off.

2018 Preseason NCAA Championship odds: +5000

Betting on the 2018 Miami Hurricanes

Head Coach Mark Richt comes into his 3rd season as head coach for the Canes and expectations are high in Miami following a 10-3 record a season ago. Miami is one of the favorites to win the ACC and the national championship in 2018 with fans hoping this is finally the year Richt wins it all and all the gold chains and chants of “The U is back” are not for nothing. Miami started the 2017 season with a 10-0 record and came out of nowhere to become one of the favorites to win the national championship. All of this was made possible with one of the best defenses in the country, making timely turnovers week in and week out. However, the Miami hype train came to a screeching halt on October 24 when they traveled to Heinz Field and were upset 24-14 by a 4-7 Pitt squad out of nowhere. With a shot at the College Football Playoff still on the line, Miami played Clemson in the ACC Championship and were manhandle by the score of 38-3, causing the hype train to derail from the tracks. Then, if losing a gimme-game at the end of the season and conference championship wasn’t bad enough, Miami lost to Wisconsin 34-24 in the Orange Bowl, a bowl game in their own backyard, for the last game of the season. So, what can be gathered from all this? Mark Richt has always had competitive teams in his time at Georgia and now with Miami, but there is one reason why his teams should never be wagered on and it’s because there is eventually one road all his teams go down. What’s the name of this road? The one with a sign that reads: “Disappointment.”

2018 Preseason NCAA Championship odds: +4000

Betting On Basketball In Florida

Florida's presence in the NBA and NCAAB is spotty when it comes to success, but still well received by Floridians by and large. With two professional teams and numerous college basketball teams throughout the state, there is enough local basketball action to keep Floridians happy, though not necessarily with teams that are at the tops of the leaderboards.

Florida NBA Teams

The Miami Heat and Orlando Magic were both established in the late 80s, and remain the state's only professional NBA teams. We'd have to say the Miami Heat is the more successful of the two, holding three championship titles (the last being in 2013), 5 conference titles (last one in 2014), and 11 division titles (last being in 2014). In contrast, the Orlando Magic, who is only one year younger than the Heat, holds no championship titles, only 2 conference titles and only 5 division titles.

Betting Odds For FL NBA Teams To Win The 2018 Championship

Miami Heat +30000

Orlando Magic TBD

Florida NCAAB College Teams

Of the three prominent schools in Florida, only the U of F Gators have much of a star studded presence in the NCAAB. Having won two NCAA Championships in the last decade (2006, 2007), they also have the most appearances in the various levels of the annual NCAA basketball tournament. They were the NCAA tournament runner up in 2000, and as of this writing have 5 appearances in the Final Four, eight appearances in the Elite Eight, ten appearances in the Sweet Sixteen and 14 appearances in the Round of 32. The Florida State Seminoles have not made it to the Final Four since the early 70s, and have far fewer tournament appearances overall than their rivals the Gators. The Miami Hurricane basketball team has not made it beyond the Sweet Sixteen level of the NCAA tournament, and has even fewer tournament appearances than the Seminoles. Though college basketball in Florida is limited in success, all three of these teams are still actively covered in NCAAB betting lines and odds at the leading sportsbooks.

Betting Odds For FL NCAAB Teams To Win National Title

FSU +12500

Miami +12500

Florida Gators +8000

Betting On MLB And College Baseball Teams In Florida

The Sunshine State does boast one professional MLB team, the Miami Marlins. The team is based in Miami at Marlins Park and plays in the National League. As of this writing the tea has one two World Series Titles (1997, 2003). Before 2012 the team was known as the Florida Marlins and their name was changed when they moved from Sun Life Stadium to Marlins Park in Miami. The Marlins are covered in the extensive selection of MLB betting lines at the industry's leading sportsbooks.

Betting Odds For FL MLB Teams To Win The 2018 World Series

Miami Marlins +50000

Tampa Rays +15000

College baseball has also carved out a presence in the state of Florida with all three prominent schools making their mark with College World Series appearances. The Seminoles, Gators and Hurricanes have all made appearances in the College World Series and have all been runner-ups more than once. Only the Miami Hurricanes can boast earning a national championship, something they have accomplished in 1982, 1985, 1999 and 2001. You will find that the odds makers at our recommended sportsbooks always include these three prominent FL college baseball teams in their lines.

Other Sports Betting Opportunities In Florida

Though football, baseball and basketball mark the most notable presence for Florida sports, the state's sports fans are drawn to many other sports categories, including major state based events such as the annual Daytona 500 and the many horse races that take place in the state's exquisite equestrian environment and tracks. Florida sports fans also follow golf, boxing, tennis, hockey, soccer, water sports and mixed martial arts, among others. Though they may not specifically have an athlete or team representing them in every sports category, Florida sports fans are quite diverse in their taste.

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