Gambling in Florida
Gambling in Florida offers a number of gambling options, both land-based and online. Although state lawmakers appear to be mostly opposed to expanding online gambling, Florida doesn’t take a hard-line against forms of online gaming that are permitted under federal law such as sports betting and horse racing betting.
Overall, Florida has a vast selection of opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy; Tribal and Traditional Casinos, poker rooms and bingo halls, a great State-run Lottery or even ‘taking-a-cruise-to-nowhere’ and gambling in international waters.
Florida Casino Gambling
World-class casino facilities exist in Florida (there are a lot of them – more than 80) and most are located on Native Seminole Tribal Lands. Florida’s residents and visitors also have the option to go on ‘cruises to nowhere’ and play casino games (including craps and roulette, which are not readily available at Florida’s Tribal Casinos) and bet legally on sports in international waters. ‘Slots casinos’ are also legal in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
Between the Cruise Casinos, the Tribal Casinos and the slots casinos of Miami and Fort Lauderdale, more than 25 300 slots and gaming machines are offered in total. According to the results of our researchers, bets at Florida’s casinos range from a minimum of $0.01 to a maximum of $1000. As noted above in the section on ‘Florida legal gambling age’, there is some variation in the legal minimum ages for casino gambling in Florida. Minimum age required for poker and horse racing betting at casinos is 18 whilst the age raises to 21 for legal participation with the gaming machines in Florida’s casinos.
Online Casinos in Florida
Online Casinos are illegal in the Sunshine State. Whilst an unsuccessful attempt was made to legalize online poker in the Florida State House of Representatives with bill HB 77 back in 2011, Florida remains on the ‘illegal’ side of the online casino column thanks to the state’s politicians receiving hefty donations from billionaire Sheldon Adelson, one of the biggest land-based casino owners around.
Which Online Casinos Are legal in Florida and Which are Not?
Unregulated, offshore online casinos, many of which operate with little-to-no oversight or governance. Should be best avoided by online players in Florida. In fact, online casino gambling across the board is pretty much a no-no for residents and visitors to the Sunshine State. The possibility to play offshore online casinos may potentially be confusing to the average online player, who may not understand the subtle differences and unknowingly put themselves at risk.
Stick with the legal online options for now (DFS and horse and greyhound racing) for peace-of-mind and hassle-free gambling and avoid offshore online casinos wherever possible.
Poker in Florida
Almost all of the Floridian gambling facilities offer poker rooms, although they mostly tend to be on the small side However there is a total of 31 poker rooms in addition to Tribal Casinos and Cruise Casinos spread widely across the state, so while they may not be big in size they certainly are pretty numerous and fairly easily accessible no matter what region of the state you are from.
You can play home poker games, though the provisions for social games are quite strict. In addition to the standard US-wide rules about nobody making a profit or rake from the games, there is a maximum win of $10 in place in the Sunshine State.
Of course, you can play many different types of poker (Casino Hold’em, Texas Hold’em, Caribbean Stud Poker, No Limit Hold’em etc.) perfectly legally and without fear of breaking the law at any one of Florida casinos and many poker rooms and card clubs.
Online Poker Laws
Online Poker is a still unavailable for Florida online players at this time, but the topic seems to be under almost constant debate by the state’s legislators. Please refer to above section ‘Online Casinos in Florida’ for further details on the legalization of online poker in Florida.
Benefits of Legal Gambling to Florida
- According to an official Florida State Legislature Gambling Impact study in 2013, the gambling industry provides many jobs for under-educated members of the Florida population who may struggle to find gainful employment elsewhere.
- A deal struck between the Seminole Tribe and the Florida State Government in 2017 has resulted in a 4.5% increase in gambling revenue for the state.
- Further State Government Revenue could be generated for the state by legalizing online gambling and sports betting.
- Gambling increases economic growth as a whole in Florida and provides revenue streams to pay for hurricane and other disaster readiness, positive education outcomes, improvements in the state’s health system, and better security-and-law-and-order services for the state’s residents.
History of Online & Land-Based Gambling in Florida
1931: Horse Racing legalized in Florida
1935-37: Slots machines legalized in Florida.
1970: Bingo legalized in Florida.
1984: Cruise Casinos established and run for the first time.
1988: Florida State Lottery created & first Seminole Tribal Casinos open.
2004: Slots machines legalized in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
2007: Table Casino Games introduced to Seminole Tribal Casinos.
2010: Poker booms as buy-in laws eliminated and ‘No Limit’ games are legalized.
2011: Unsuccessful attempt at legalizing online casinos with Bill HB 77.