Gambling On the Sunshine State: The Growing Trend of Betting in Florida
By Space Coast Daily // April 20, 2023
Betting in Florida has been on the rise in recent years, from horse racing and dog racing to casino gaming and sports betting, the Sunshine State has a broad range of betting opportunities available for locals and tourists alike.
If you are thinking to yourself “wait, is sports betting legal in Florida”, we can reveal that it is currently not, but there are some other ways to spend your free time and have a flutter, and those will be covered in this article.
Popular ways to gamble in Florida
Horse racing is one of the most popular types of gambling in Florida. Several large horse racing venues, notably Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs, attract thousands of tourists each year. These tracks provide a variety of betting possibilities, standard bets such as win, place and show, as well as more complicated bets like as exactas, trifectas and superfectas.
Another popular form of betting in Florida is dog racing. The state is home to several dog racing tracks, including the Palm Beach Kennel Club and the Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Track. Like horse racing, dog racing offers a range of betting options, including traditional bets like win, place and show, as well as more complex bets like quinellas and perfectas.
Aside from horse and dog racing, Florida is home to various casinos that provide a variety of gambling alternatives such as slot machines, table games and poker. These casinos may be found all around the state, with many of the largest and most popular being found in South Florida.
Legality of sports betting in Florida
An ongoing confusion surrounding betting in the state remains. Sports betting has traditionally been illegal in Florida due to a combination of state and federal laws.
Under federal law, sports betting is illegal in all states except for Nevada, where it has been legal for decades. In addition, Florida’s constitution includes a provision that prohibits any expansion of gambling without a statewide voter referendum, making it difficult for lawmakers to legalize sports betting without first obtaining voter approval.
What about online betting?
Online sports betting and casino gambling are still prohibited in the state, despite the fact that some types of online gaming, like fantasy sports, are permitted. Because of this, there are now a large number of offshore online betting companies that welcome players from Florida even though they don’t adhere to local, state, or federal restrictions, which maks them a risky proposition for punters.
Although it is unclear how this will pan out in the future, the state’s recent approval of sports betting may also pave the way for online sports betting.
Despite the popularity of betting in Florida, the industry is facing challenges, one of which is the prevalence of illegal betting operations across the state. According to a report from the American Gaming Association, illegal sports betting generates around $150 billion in bets each year in the United States, with Florida being one of the top states for illegal sports betting activity.
The ongoing discussion about the expansion of casino gambling is another challenge Florida’s betting industry is now facing. Although the southerly state presently permits a number of casino gaming options, including table games and slot machines, there is a continued debate about whether to also permit online gambling and sports betting as some of its neighboring states have done.
However, the potential expansion of casinos has the state worried about an increase in gambling addiction and gambling related loss, according to a report by the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, in 2020, the state’s gambling hotline received 8,411 calls for help related to problem gambling.
This suggests that gambling losses may be a significant issue for some individuals in Florida.