At the moment, mobile sports betting in Florida is available through Hard Rock Bet.

The platform has been open to all bettors since December 2023, but its opening followed nearly two years of legal limbo. Two brick-and-mortar gaming facilities opposed to mobile sports betting had been successful in preventing Hard Rock Bet from launching during most of that time, but the plaintiffs have nearly exhausted their legal options in federal and state court.

A ruling in favor of the Seminole Tribe is widely expected.

Hard Rock Bet is the only online sportsbook in Florida. That’s because the tribe was granted a monopoly on mobile sports betting through an amended gaming compact with the State of Florida.

Florida is the nation’s third-most populous state. With more than 22 million residents, the Sunshine State is currently the largest US market with legally regulated sports betting.

Watch this space for updates on sports betting in Florida as developments unfold.

Online Sports Betting in Florida
📢 StatusLegal and available through Hard Rock Bet, although a court could order it to cease operations at any time.
📅 Date LegalizedJune 30, 2023 (currently)
👥 State Population22.2 million
🏀 Potential SportsbooksHard Rock Bet (formerly Hard Rock Sportsbook)
⚖️ Regulated ByFlorida Gaming Control Commission
🔞 Legal Age to Gamble21+

Is online sports betting legal in Florida?

Online sports betting is legal in Florida and currently available for all players — for now. That’s because the legal challenges that two brick-and-mortar gaming facilities filed in federal and state court are still playing out.

In a surprise move, the Seminole Tribe launched Hard Rock Bet to a limited number of bettors on November 7, 2023. The platform was opened to everyone on December 5.

Florida Online Sports Betting: Overview

Supreme Court Florida Sports BettingThe saga surrounding sports betting in Florida began in 2018.

That year, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), a federal law that had prohibited most forms of sports betting since 1992, was unconstitutional.

But rather than jump into sports betting, socially conservative voters in Florida led passage of a constitutional amendment requiring 60% voter approval of any future expansion of gaming in the state.

The Seminole Tribe, which owns six of the seven* tribal casinos in Florida and has a gaming compact with the state, threw its support behind the 2018 amendment — in large part because it would make it more difficult for commercial casinos (and sportsbooks) to enter the market. (*The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida own the seventh casino, in Miami.)

While adverse to an expansion of gaming, conservative lawmakers in the legislature agreed to a compromise — by giving the Seminoles a monopoly on sports betting, they could keep as tight of a lid as possible on expanded gaming. State lawmakers took what they could get, considering the tribe has sovereignty rights under federal law.

Negotiations between the administration of Governor Ron DeSantis and the tribe began shortly after that. The two sides announced an amended 30-year gaming compact in April 2021, under which the tribe would serve as the center of a “hub-and-spoke” system for online sports betting. The Seminoles were allowed to accept mobile wagers anywhere in the state except on other tribal (i.e., Miccosukee) land.

Although DeSantis signed the agreement in April 2021, the US Department of Interior (DOI) still had to give its approval. Court records show DOI Secretary Deb Haaland received a copy of the amended compact on June 21, 2021. Haaland then had 45 days to take action on the compact, but when she didn’t, it automatically took effect on August 5, 2021.

Sports Betting Returns After Long Delay

Hard Rock Casino Hollywood Florida Sports BettingHard Rock Gaming, the gaming company for the Seminole Tribe, launched Hard Rock Sportsbook on November 1, 2021. It wasn’t operational for very long.

Two gaming companies, West Flagler Associates and the Bonita-Fort Myers Corporation, sued the DOI in August 2021. The plaintiffs argued that the amended gaming amounted to an illegal expansion of gaming under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). West Flagler owns the Magic City Casino & Flagler Dog Track in Miami, while Bonita-Fort Myers owns the Bonita Springs Poker Room in Bonita Springs (there’s a bustling market for poker in Florida through tribal casinos and cardrooms).

On November 22, 2021, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich sided with the plaintiffs, which required the Seminole Tribe to take down Hard Rock Sportsbook just three weeks after it started accepting wagers.

The DOI subsequently appealed, and a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in the government’s favor on June 30. The plaintiffs filed an appeal in August, asking the entire appellate court to rehear the case.

The appellate court responded on September 11 that it would not rehear the case. With its options quickly dwindling, West Flagler and Bonita-Fort Myers told the appellate court they plan to appeal to the US Supreme Court. It’s unclear if the US Supreme Court will take the case.

On the same day that DOI said West Flagler and Bonita Fort-Myers should have filed suit in state court, rather than in federal court, the plaintiffs did just that — they petitioned the Florida Supreme Court for a stay on September 25 and made clear they want the court to find that DeSantis, along with House and Senate leaders, allowed an illegal expansion of gaming.

West Flagler and Bonita Fort-Myers appeared to have exhausted their options in federal court after the appellate court denied the plaintiffs’ petition for a stay on September 28.

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts issued a temporary hold on October 12, as the plaintiffs committed to filing their case with the high court by November 20. But the hold was lifted on October 25 and a stay was denied.

Shortly after the stay was denied, the Seminole Tribe announced that it would open its retail sportsbooks beginning in early December. In a surprise move that stumped industry analysts, the tribe quietly launched Hard Rock Bet and initially made it available to a limited number of bettors — specifically, those who had placed wagers on the Hard Rock Sportsbook platform way back in November 2021, as well as certain Unity by Hard Rock loyalty club members. Hard Rock Bet was opened to all players on December 5.

Hard Rock Bet remains up and running as of late January 2024, even with federal and state courts still expected to weigh in at some point. The case in federal court could drag on for years.

The Seminole Tribe rebranded its sportsbook as Hard Rock Bet in July.

History of Sports Betting at Hard Rock

Hard Rock Bet is the sport betting product of Hard Rock Digital, a gaming subsidiary of the Seminole Tribe. The sportsbook was originally called Hard Rock Sportsbook, but it was rebranded and made its debut as Hard Rock Bet in New Jersey in July.

Florida wasn’t the first state where the Seminoles rolled out Hard Rock Sportsbook — it was actually one of the last.

After launching in New Jersey and Iowa in 2019 — in January and December, respectively — Hard Rock Sportsbook popped up in four states in 2022. That year, the operator started accepting wagers in Arizona (April), Virginia (May), Indiana (September), and Tennessee (also September). The platform launched in Ohio on January 1, 2023.

In the Sunshine State, an amended gaming compact between the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe authorized the latter to launch sports betting as early as October 15, 2021. The tribe ultimately decided to wait until November 1 to launch Hard Rock Sportsbook and made its startup a low-key affair — Hard Rock Digital made no official announcement of the launch.

Hard Rock Sportsbook initially offered wagers on MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, and NHL games, plus NCAA college football and basketball. It appears that wagers on in-state college sports were also accepted.

Its replacement, Hard Rock Bet, appears to use an identical sports betting catalog. The platform offers wagers in several formats including futures bets, money line bets, parlay bets, point spread, prop bets, teasers, and over/under.

Hard Rock Bet is currently live in seven states for sports betting — Arizona, Florida, Indiana, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia. Online casino games are only available in New Jersey. Hard Rock Bet ceased sports betting operations in Iowa in November 2023 after an ownership change at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City.


Why is there a legal challenge to sports betting?

Two land-based gaming properties alleged that the US Department of Interior (DOI), which handles gaming issues on tribal lands, violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) by approving the amended gaming compact between the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe. The plaintiffs argued that the amended gaming amounted to an illegal expansion of gaming under the IGRA. A district court agreed, but an appellate court reversed that decision.

All eyes are now on the Florida Supreme Court. The plaintiffs are hoping for a ruling that the amended gaming compact violated the state constitution because it wasn’t approved by voters. It’s also possible that the US Supreme Court could take the case on appeal.

The Seminole Tribe decided to launch Hard Rock Bet as the legal challenges continue. No court has ordered the platform to cease operations.

Is online gambling legal in Florida?

The only form of online gambling that is legal in Florida is mobile sports betting — online poker and casino gaming have not been authorized.

What are Florida’s sports betting laws?

The Florida Gaming Control Commission is the state’s gaming regulator and oversees the gaming compact with the Seminoles. Meanwhile, the Seminole Tribal Gaming Commission is a tribal governmental agency authorized to carry out the tribe’s regulatory and oversight responsibilities under the same gaming compact.

When will online sports betting be legal in Florida?

Online sports betting has been legal, at least in the technical sense, since June 30, 2023. That’s the day that an appellate court panel reversed a ruling in district court that said online sports betting was against the law. With legal challenges in federal and state court still to be resolved, Hard Rock Bet opened to a select group of bettors in November 2023 and opened the platform to everyone the following month.

What about online casino gaming in Florida?

Legislation to authorize online casino gaming has not been introduced in Florida because it is a conservative state. With an amendment to the state constitution requiring 60% voter approval for expanding gaming — coupled with likely opposition from the Seminole Tribe, which owns and operates six brick-and-mortar casinos in the state — it seems unlikely that online casino gaming will be legal in Florida anytime soon.

Can I place wagers at offshore sportsbooks instead?

Offshore sportsbooks are not recommended because they do not offer the same consumer protection level as legal, regulated sites. Playing at offshore sites means putting your financial and personal information at risk and yourself in danger of identity theft. Federal officials have warned that US citizens have no legal recourse to collect winnings owed by an offshore site and strongly recommend against playing on them.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling (VACPG) helpline at 1-888-532-3500