Florida Gambling Laws: A Comprehensive Summary
Florida imposes strict penalties on individuals or their agents organizing illicit gambling activity in the state. Fortunately, Florida gambling regulations provide substantial opportunities for legal age residents to enjoy casino games, betting games, bingo, et al at licensed establishments in the state. These gambling venues are primarily restricted to Tribal Casinos. Other options available to Florida residents include cruise ships off the East and West Coast of Florida where legal age players can enjoy gambling in international waters.
Gambling in Florida encompasses multiple types of activities including casino betting, dog racing, off-track betting, horseracing, off-track horseracing, and all other forms of gambling activity. Punters can place wagers on horses at Gulfstream Park, enjoy casino games at local venues like the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, or sports betting on popular Florida football teams. All forms of gambling in Florida – from slots games to popular casino card games like Blackjack, Baccarat, and Texas Holdem Poker are readily available throughout the Sunshine State.
Most gambling actions in Florida take place at casinos located on Indian reservations. Betting activity and the location of casinos in Florida are all stipulated within Florida’s gambling legislation. The code sections which define Florida gambling laws are found in 849.01 et seq. and 550.001, et seq. According to Florida law, any individual or agent engaging in illicit gambling actions is in contravention of section 849.01 of the 2017 Florida statutes. Such activity is liable to prosecution as a third-degree felony. Chapter 550 of the pari-mutuel wagering laws provides detailed information on permit holders, licenses, games of chance, gambling-related taxation, and the like.
What Is Defined as Gambling in the State of Florida?
Gambling activity details all forms of wagering for real money, or items of value, on any game of chance. These include casino card games, and are applicable to all devices used for gambling purposes such as slot machines, video poker terminals, casino tables etc. Horseracing activity is a form of gambling, and off-track betting activity with thoroughbred racing is also included in the mix. Inter-track betting is also permitted, in addition to quarter-horse racing and harness racing. All forms of pari-mutuel greyhound racing at licensed venues are allowed, in addition to intertrack betting. As far as casinos are concerned, only pari-mutuel style casinos are permitted.
All forms of tribal gambling activity are subject to compliance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Florida statutes expressly proscribe gambling devices. In Florida, mahjongg, dominoes, bridge, poker, and penny-ante-games where winnings do not exceed $10 are allowed. Florida gambling legislation covers a wide range of gambling-style activities that often overlap with federal legislation. These include lotteries, racetracks, and casinos. In the US, states with their own gambling legislation are typically governed by Gaming Commissions. All forms of casino gaming activity are strictly controlled by zoning requirements.
Florida Gambling Laws: What’s Legal and What’s Not?
The state of Florida has legalized a wide range of gambling activity, including casino games. Florida’s casinos are located on Seminole tribal lands and include the Hard Rock Casinos. Casino games include Craps, Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat, Poker and other options which can be enjoyed on cruise ships. Broward County and Miami-Dade County are also home to multiple slots casinos for legal age Florida residents. At this point, there is no legislation permitting online casino gambling in the state. However, there is no legislation that expressly designates online gambling as illegal. Live poker games at card rooms are legal at the racetracks and at tribal casinos. There are low maximum bets in in play in Florida, with a wide range of cash games, poker tournaments and home-based games.
It should be remembered that federal law is applicable to state gambling activity vis-à-vis poker rakes. As it stands, nobody can take a rake or generate profits from home-based poker games. The maximum win amount remains $10. Online poker games are not permitted in Florida; however no arrests have taken place with players participating in online poker games. Other forms of gambling that are fully regulated in the state include lottery betting (games like the Powerball, and Mega Millions), sports betting activity through pari-mutuel machines, dog racing, horseracing, and Jai-Alai, as well as charitable raffles and bingo games. Tribal territories also offer a wide range of 75 ball bingo, 90 ball bingo and progressive jackpot bingo games. These are all regarded as legal, provided the casinos and establishments offering these services have valid permits.
What Is the Future of Florida Gambling Laws?
Florida is the #1 tourist destination for local and international travelers. The Sunshine State plays host to the world’s biggest cruise ship industry where legal age patrons can enjoy casino games in international waters. Seminole tribal casinos are home to Florida’s land-based casinos and they offer a full spread of games for players to enjoy. Casinos include the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, and dozens of others. Most gambling activity in Florida is classified as racino, with dog races and horse races. The most popular Native American casinos in Broward County and Hillsboro County include the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, and the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa.
States like New Jersey, Delaware, Nevada, and more recently Pennsylvania have moved to regulate online gambling. At the time of writing, Florida did not regulate online gambling activity. While it is not illegal to partake in online gambling, there are no laws permitting this type of activity. It is important to bear in mind that the state of Florida does not participate in the monitoring of online gambling, and there are no state-sanctioned online casinos. No provision is currently made for online gambling in the Florida statutes. This is a key point to bear in mind, since it classifies online gambling as a grey area activity. It may well happen that online gaming legislation gains traction in the Florida legislature.
There are currently several bills in play in Florida, including SB 840 and HB 7067. The former is with the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the latter is with the house. Lawmakers regularly introduce gambling reform bills. While Florida lawmakers push for gambling amendments, current proposals may not advance through the House and Senate. Among the many sticking points are the inclusion of slot machines at pari-mutuels across 8 counties in Florida. The issue of decoupling is also a hot topic. The House legislation does not expressly provide for de-coupling; however, the Senate bill does. Any moves towards online gambling will need to be cleared by Florida’s Native American tribes, lawmakers, and voters. For now, Florida gambling is restricted to land-based establishments across the state.
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