The gambling statues in Florida are a peculiar mix of super strict and liberal laws. Most forms of gambling are legalized in the state, but there are still a lot of limitations. As for online gambling, the situation is even more tangled.
Today, we’ll try to get to the bottom of this issue, as we provide insight into the current laws regarding online gambling in Florida.
Just like in most other parts of the country, the legal status of online gambling in Florida is a tricky subject. Both online gambling and online betting in the Sunshine State are in a grey area, and there are no laws that prohibit Floridians from wagering in offshore gambling sites.
Online gambling is not looked up favorably by the government, but the authorities turn a blind eye towards those who play in gambling sites that are located outside the US. Operating an online gambling site within the state of Florida is strictly prohibited. While there aren’t any state-regulated gambling sites in the Sunshine State, Floridians can play in offshore casinos without the risk of violating any state or US federal laws.
Now, online gambling at Internet Cafés is illegal. The state lawmakers and law enforcement agencies made sure of that by enacting a law that made Internet Cafés illegal. This law is a bit confusing and is being legally challenged due to its interpretation being too broad.
Basically, you can gamble online in Florida, but you can’t quite go to an Internet Café and do it in front of dozens of other people. As long as you’re doing it from your home, you’re in the clear. No Floridian has ever faced punishment for gambling online and there is no federal or state law that prohibits players from the Sunshine State to gamble online on sites that are legitimately licensed and regulated outside the US, which is what millions of players do.
Online gambling legislations have not yet come to Florida, although there are constant attempts to legalize this pastime. When the Supreme Court passed a bill that made both sports betting and casino games legal nationwide, it opened doors to new opportunities. New Jersey was the first to jump on the bandwagon, with several other states following the pattern.
As for Florida, there have been efforts to legalize both online gambling and sports betting, but they’re constantly hitting dead ends. Casino establishments and lawmakers find it hard to be on the same page, and with a strong tribal presence in the state, passing any online gambling legislation may come with numerous hurdles.
One of the big reasons why Florida has been dragging its feet when it comes to online gambling is that legalizing each form of online gambling must be put before a referendum for the people to vote on.
In November 2018, voters in Florida approved a constitutional amendment regarding future gambling expansion. As stated by the amendment, any future talks about the expansion of online gambling would have to be approved by voters through a statewide referendum. This was a big step forward considering that, earlier, such a move would require approval from the legislators alone.
However, the Seminole Tribe of Indians holds a virtual monopoly over most forms of casino gambling in the state. The Floridian government signed a compact with the Seminole Tribe in 2010, allowing them to run land-based gambling establishments in turn for revenues that they would provide to the government.
At that time, the situation was a win-win for both sides — the government gets $350 million annually from gambling revenues, whereas the Indian tribes got the green light to run land-based casino venues. Online gambling was not really brought into the equation until Congress enacted the UIGEA. When online gambling was legalized on the state level, the government started talks about backing out of the agreement with the tribes by allowing pari-mutuel operators to run card games, thus depriving the tribes of revenue opportunities, while allowing the non-tribal operators to flourish.
There are no real indications that Florida will legalize online gambling in the foreseeable future, but we can’t really tell what the future holds. Until that happens, Floridians are free to use offshore casinos to appease their gambling appetites.
Florida is home to a number of land-based and sea-based casinos, most of which are owned by Native Americans. The State of Florida legalized and regulated racinos which are allowed to offer some slot machines and poker and must be tied to a racetrack. Tribal Casinos, on the other hand, can offer whatever table games they wish, with the exception only to roulette and craps. Almost all Tribal properties are owned by the Seminole tribe that owns several first-class casinos.
The Sunshine State is the main hub for a variety of cruise ships, most of which also have casinos onboard. Some cruise ships “turn into” floating casinos once they reach international waters. You can take cruises from Hollywood, Cape Canaveral, Jacksonville, Tampa, Miami, Miramar, and Riviera Beach.
There are also a number of pari-mutuel casinos in Florida that are allowed to offer slot machines and poker.
Below, I’ve listed all land-based casinos in Florida, along with their respective slots and table games offerings.
|Calder Casino||1,100||e-Table games pit (roulette and blackjack)|
|The Casino@Dania Beach||750+||e-Table games pit + over 20 live poker tables|
|Casino Miami||1,000+||e-Table games pit + poker lounge|
|Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino||800+||Poker lounge (no dealer table games)|
|Hialeah Park Racing and Casino||850+||Electronic table games + 33 poker tables|
|Victory Casino Cruises||600+||e-Table games pit + bingo|
|Tropical Breeze Casino||100+||3-card poker, blackjack, craps, Let it Ride, roulette (10 tables in total)|
|Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park||1500+||e-Table games pit + poker lounge (40+ tables)|
|Magic City Casino||800+||e-Table games pit + 18-table poker room|
|Miccosukee Resort & Gaming||2,000+||Bingo+poker lounge|
|The Big Easy Casino||720+||e-Table games pit + 30-table poker room|
|Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Tampa||5,000+||170+ table games and 46 poker tables|
|Seminole Casino Brighton||400+||Six table games + poker room|
|Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Hollywood||3,100+||200 table games + 45-table poker room|
|Seminole Classic Casino||1,000+||9 table games + bingo room|
|Seminole Casino Coconut Creek||2,000+||70 live table games|
|Seminole Casino Immokalee||1,400+||38 live table games|
Online gambling is in a grey area in the Sunshine State — it’s not legalized in the lawbooks, but you can play in offshore sites without worrying about ending up with a fine or in prison.
Most of them are. Look for casinos that are licensed by reputable licensing jurisdictions like the UK Gambling Commission, the Malta Gaming Authority, or Curacao. Gambling sites that are regulated by these organizations are perfectly safe to play at.
DFS operators offer their services to Floridians, but the Sunshine State is yet to define the legality of Daily Fantasy Sports.
If you want to check out the official gambling laws of Florida in their original language, you should go to Florida’s State Legislature website where the laws and statues are presented in their entirety.
It is 18 for pari-mutuel wagering and poker, and 21 for gaming machines.