Florida Gambling Laws

florida miami

In this article, we explore the state of Florida legislative on gambling. Read and see how gaming is regulated in one of the US states with the longest gambling history.

Is Gambling Legal in Florida?

Florida is among the US states with the longest gambling history, although it has had strict gambling laws for almost 200 years, up until today. However, this doesn’t prevent the state from having some of the world’s top class casinos, like the one on Seminole tribe lands. Also, the fines are sharp, but the state has a specific tradition of dealing with illegal gambling — it usually prosecutes the promoters, not the players themselves.

Florida state law delimits gambling as playing or engaging in any game of chance.

Both federal and state laws regulate gambling in the state of Florida. On the one hand, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act is a federal law allowing gambling houses on Native American lands. On the other hand, there’s an array of state laws administering special conditions of legal gambling in Florida.

Permitted forms of casino gaming include:

  • Horse and greyhound racing:
    • off-track and intertrack betting
    • pari-mutuel betting on horse races, but only if previously permitted
  • Card games:
    • “Penny ante” games (poker, pinochle, bridge, dominoes, mahjongg) but only in private space and for a win not over $10 for the event organizer
    • maximum bets for card rooms are $2 to $100
  • Bingo gaming and Raffles:
    • only in purposes of charity
  • State lottery
  • Casinos
    • only on tribal soil
  • Betting on jai-alai

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Here’s a list of prohibited forms of gambling:

  • Casinos
  • Chain letters
  • Pyramid schemes
  • Playing online casinos from public computers (such as Internet cafes and similar)
  • Online Poker

Also, Florida is widely known for the so-called “cruises to nowhere,” i.e., sailing to international waters in order to avoid law infringements.

Have in mind that things might change since the moment of writing this preview, so be sure to check on the latest updates with a lawyer or other law expert.

As far as online gambling is concerned, the Florida legislature doesn’t make it illegal, unless accessed through public computers.

What are the future prospects?

The state does show signs of willingness to relax Florida law on gambling since there are indications that online poker might be legalized in the future. However, the dispute between racetracks and tribal casinos doesn’t seem optimistic. The racetracks are trying to add slot machines and other gambling devices to their offer, but the tribes are doubtful about signing the contract with them. We’ll have to wait and see what happens next.