Legal Florida Gambling

Florida Gambling

Florida offers a wide range of legal gambling. There are full-service casinos, card clubs, racetracks, charitable gaming, state lottery and jai alai. Casinos are permitted on land held in trust by the Seminole Tribe of Florida and in Broward and Dade Counties. Card clubs are permitted at racetracks.

While greyhound racing is legal, it was repealed by voters in a November 2018 referendum. It will be phased out by law through 2021. Card clubs with greyhound tracks will be permitted to stay in operation even after they shutter their racetracks.

Overview of Florida’s legal gambling options:

  • Horseracing: Live, off-track and mobile
  • Greyhound racing: Live, off-track; banned after January 2021
  • Lottery: Scratch-off and lotto sales at retailers
  • Slots, video poker and table games: Only on tribal land
  • Bingo and raffles: Only at registered charities
  • Poker and player-banked games: At tribal casinos and card clubs
  • Jai alai betting: Live
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Online Gambling in Florida

The only form of online gambling that is licensed in Florida is online racing betting through advanced deposit wagering websites (ADWs). Horse and greyhound racing are permitted on mobile apps. TwinSpires, TVG and BetAmerica are among the mobile ADWs that serve the Florida market.

No law in Florida specifically addresses daily fantasy sports contests but most major DFS companies accept players from the state. This includes DraftKings, FanDuel and Fantasy Draft. Yahoo DFS opted to leave Florida after reports that a grand jury was exploring the legality of the contests in the state, but returned in 2019.

Online Gambling Laws in Florida

Online gambling is generally illegal in Florida. This includes poker, casino games and sports betting. Only licensed gaming companies may offer gambling in Florida and these activities are not authorized over the internet.

Daily fantasy sports are not covered by Florida law. Major DFS providers such as FanDuel and DraftKings operate in Florida nonetheless on the assumption that their contests are legal under skill gaming exceptions.

An Attorney General opinion dating back to 1991 found fantasy sports contests “a violation of state gambling laws,” but the non-binding opinion has not deterred most operators from setting up shop in Florida.

Online sports betting has been discussed by some pro-gaming lawmakers in the Sunshine State, but estimating a timeline for legalization is difficult at this stage. However, there is clearly an appetite for legalization as sports betting legislation has been introduced in each of the last two legislative sessions.

Online poker and casino games do not appear to be high priority items among lawmakers at this time. Currently, there is no pending legislation to legalize online gambling and there appears to be little desire to change the status quo at this time.

Land-based Casinos in Florida

Four types of in-person gambling facilities operate in Florida:

  • Those run by tribal groups
  • Card clubs at racetracks outside of Miami-Dade and Broward counties
  • Card clubs with slots and electronic table games in Miami-Dade and Broward counties
  • Cruise ships that sail to international waters

The Seminole Tribe of Florida owns and operates the only full-service casinos in the state. Seminole casinos may spread slots, video poker, live poker, electronic table games and live table games that use cards.

The Miccosukee Tribe also operates a casino in Miami but is restricted to Class II gaming as it does not have a compact with the state. The Miccosukee Resort offers bingo and video gaming machines.

Card clubs are permitted at racetracks outside Dade and Broward Counties. These facilities may offer poker and table games banked by players, but may not offer slots, video poker or other traditional casino-style games.

Racetracks and other parimutuel facilities (such as jai alai frontons) in Miami-Dade and Broward counties may also operate slot machines and electronic table games in addition to poker.

Additionally, a casino cruise ship operated by Victory Casino Cruises departs from Port Canaveral twice a day for half-day cruises during which guests may gamble and bet on sports while in international waters.

List of Tribal Casinos in Florida

Seminole Casino Brighton

17735 Reservation Road
Okeechobee, FL 34974
Seminole Classic Casino

4150 N State Road 7
Hollywood, FL 33021
Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee

506 South 1st Street
Immokalee, FL 34142
Seminole Casino Coconut Creek

5550 NW 40th Street
Coconut Creek, FL 33073
Seminole Hard Rock Tampa

5223 Orient Road
Tampa, FL 33610
Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood

1 Seminole Way
Hollywood, FL 33314
Miccosukee Resort and Gaming Center

500 SW 17th Avenue
Miami, FL 33194

Broward and Miami-Dade Casinos

Isle Casino Pompano Park

777 Isle of Capri Circle
Pompano Beach, FL, 33069
The Big Easy Casino

831 N Federal Hwy
Hallandale Beach, FL
Casino Miami

3500 NW 37th Avenue
Miami, FL 33142
Magic City Casino

450 NW 37th Avenue
Miami, FL 33125
The Casino at Dania Beach

301 E Dania Beach Blvd
Dania Beach, FL 33004
Hialeah Park Casino

100 E 32nd St
Hialeah, FL 33013
Gulfstream Park Casino

901 S Federal Hwy
Hallandale Beach, FL 33009
Calder Casino

21001 NW 27th Avenue
Miami Gardens, FL 33056

Florida Gambling Laws

The Florida gambling landscape looks complicated at first glance, but it’s actually not as complex as it may seem once we understand the general layout.

The big picture view is there are five main categories of legal gambling in Florida:

  • Casinos operated by the Seminole tribe which may offer slots, poker and Vegas-style games under a compact with the state
  • A Cass II casino operated by the Miccosukee Tribe with bingo gaming machines that mimic slots and bingo
  • Small-stakes social games played among friends
  • Cardrooms operated by parimutuel wagering facilities such as horse tracks and jai alai frontons
  • Cardrooms with slots and electronic table games operated by parimutuel wagering facilities in Miami-Dade County and Broward County

Criminal law and laws regarding licensed cardrooms are outlined in Chapter 849 of the Florida Statutes.

Seminole Compact in a State of Flux

Florida’s Seminole Tribe operates gambling in accordance with the compact they have with the state.

Under a state-tribal gaming compact formed in 2009, the Seminole Tribe was given exclusive rights to video poker, house banked card games and slots (except for slots offered by casinos in Miami-Dade and Broward counties) across Florida.

In return, the Seminole Tribe agreed to pay the state as much as $350 million per year in exclusivity fees.

However, the agreement broke down over the state’s refusal to crack down on card games hosted by non-tribal parimutuel facilities across the state. The Seminoles stopped paying exclusivity fees to the state in 2019.

Now, lawmakers are considering how to negotiate a new compact with tribes, and whether or not to include sports betting as a part of such negotiations. However, the passage of Amendment 3 in 2018 has further complicated such considerations because legalizing sports betting may require the statewide approval of voters across the state.

Class II Casino Operated by the Miccosukee Tribe

The Class II casino operated by the Miccosukee Tribe is legal under federal law, specifically the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). Under the IGRA, federally recognized Indian tribes may operate Class II casinos (bingo and nonbanked card games such as poker) if those games are permitted anywhere else in the state.

Class II casinos do not require a gaming compact with the state. Tribes that wish to offer Class III games such as slots and house banked table games must have a gaming compact with the state. The Miccosukee tribe has not formed a gaming compact with Florida and is therefore relegated to hosting gaming machines that meet the technical definition of “bingo” and actual bingo games.

Social Gambling Exception

Generally, gambling is illegal in Florida unless it meets certain requirements to qualify as a penny ante game or takes place at a licensed parimutuel facility.

Under Florida law, the offense of “gambling” is defined as follows:

Whoever plays or engages in any game at cards, keno, roulette, faro or other game of chance, at any place, by any device whatever, for money or other thing of value, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

The exception to this is for social card games that meet the following criteria:

  • It is a game of poker, pinochle, bridge, rummy, canasta, hearts, dominoes or mah-jongg in which the winnings of any player in a single round or hand do not exceed $10
  • The game is played in a private dwelling, common area of a residential area or a publicly owned community center
  • The game must not be conducted for a profit
  • Players must all be 18 or older

Also note: debts incurred in such games are not legally enforceable.

Florida Law on Cardrooms

Section 849.086 of the Florida Statutes authorizes cardrooms at parimutuel wagering facilities. Under Florida law, greyhound tracks, racetracks and jai alai frontons may all offer nonbanked card games.

This means authorized cardrooms may host regular poker games (such as Texas Holdem) and even casino-style games reworked to function as nonbanked games. In other words, the house cannot take a profit by acting as the dealer in a game of blackjack, for example. Instead, the house must designate one player each round to act as the dealer.

For the most part, poker is the main game found at licensed cardrooms attached to parimutuel wagering facilities. Cardrooms must be attached to parimutuel facilities and must be licensed as cardrooms.

The passage of Amendment 13 in 2018 to close all greyhound racetracks by January 2021 does not impact cardrooms. A decoupling provision written into the amendment allows former greyhound racing facilities to continue hosting cardrooms (and slots in Broward and Miami-Date counties) even after the cessation of greyhound racing.

Licensed cardrooms are subject to a variety of taxes and obligations:

  • 10% tax on grossly month receipts payable to the state
  • An admission tax of 15% of the admission charge applied to cardroom visitors or 10 cents, whichever is greater – this tax is only payable if the cardroom imposes an entrance fee on visitors
  • Jai alai permitholders must use at least 4% of gross monthly receipts to supplement jai alai prize money
  • Thoroughbred and harness racing permitholders must use 47% of monthly gross receipts to supplement purses and 3% to supplement breeders’ awards

Limited Casinos in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties

Parimutuel facilities located in Miami-Dade County or Broward County are authorized to host slot machines in addition to cardrooms under Chapter 551 of the Florida Statutes.

This is legally permissible due to the passage of Amendment 4 in 2004. All parimutuel facilities in both counties who had run licensed races or games between 2002 and 2003 gained the option to add slots after the successful passage of Amendment 4. This is why parimutuel facilities in Miami-Dade and Broward counties may offer slots and card games while facilities in other counties are limited to card games only.

Casinos at racetracks and jai alai courses in the counties of Broward and Miami-Dade pay 35 percent in gross gaming revenue to the state on slots and video poker. The rate is 30 percent on electronic table games.

Most cardroom casinos in both counties have also launched “electronic table games” that supposedly meet the technical definition of slots by introducing a random number generator. The legality of these games has been called into question, but they remain available at most locations.

Florida Sports Betting

Sports betting in any form is illegal in Florida. A number of bills to legalize sports betting in Florida were introduced in 2019 and 2020 but progress on that front has been slow.

Legal sports betting is under consideration in Florida, but the path to legalization is murky due to the approval of Amendment 3 in 2018. Under the amendment, all gambling expansion initiatives must be approved via statewide vote.

A trio of bills (SB 968,  SB 970 and SB 972) introduced in the 2020 legislative session indicate some level of support among lawmakers. How such an effort would be impacted by Amendment 3 remains debatable, and the Seminole Tribe of Florida will also want to have input on any such legislation. Still, the odds of Florida legalizing in-person and online sports betting have improved in recent times.

Sports Betting Laws in Florida

Florida Statute 849.25 outlaws bookmaking and defines “bookmaking” as follows:

“…the act of taking or receiving, while engaged in the business or profession of gambling, any bet or wager upon the result of any trial or contest of skill, speed, power, or endurance of human, beast, fowl, motor vehicle, or mechanical apparatus or upon the result of any chance, casualty, unknown, or contingent event whatsoever.”

Additionally, the law lists seven factors that can be considered when determining whether or not a person is guilty of acting as an illegal bookmaker. Some of these considerations include setting the odds in such a way to earn a profit, laying off wagers with other bookmakers to reduce risk, taking more than five wagers a day, taking more than $500 in wagers in a single day or $1,500 in a single week, having two or more people involved in the sports betting business and “any other factor” that indicates the business is run for a profit.

The law further states that the existence of any two of the above factors is prima facie evidence of an illegal bookmaking business.

A first offense is a third-degree felony. Subsequent offenses become a second-degree felony.

Poker in Florida

Poker is legal at licensed parimutuel facilities and at casinos operated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

State law does not impose restrictions on games offered or the hours at which poker rooms may operate. No limit cash games and tournaments with any buyin are permitted.

Restrictions on buyin amounts in cash games and entry fees for tournaments were eliminated in 2010. Previously, players could buy in to cash games with no more than $100 while tournaments were limited to a max buyin of $1,000.

List of Card Clubs in Florida

bestbet Jacksonville

201 Monument Road
Jacksonville, FL 32225
Palm Beach Kennel Club Poker  

111 North Congress Avenue
West Palm Beach, FL 33409
bestbet Orange Park

455 Park Avenue
Orange Park, FL 32073
Derby Lane Poker Room

10490 Gandy Boulevard St. Petersburg, FL 33702
Club 52 at Melbourne Greyhound Park

1100 N. Wickham Road
Melbourne, FL 32935
One Eyed Jacks

5400 Bradenton Road
Sarasota FL 34234
Orange City Card Club

822-4 Saxon Blvd
Orange City, FL 32763
Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Track Poker Room

10601 Bonita Beach Rd SE
Bonita Springs, FL 34135
Ocala Gainesville Poker

4601 W Hwy 318
Reddick, FL 32686
Oxford Downs Poker Room

17996 S. US Hwy 301
Summerfield, FL 34491
The Silks Poker Room at Tampa Bay Downs

11225 Race Track Road
Tampa, Florida 33626
Ebro Poker Room

6558 Dog Track Road
Ebro, FL 32437
Poker Room at Ft. Pierce

1750 South Kings Highway
Ft. Pierce, Florida 34945
Poker Room at Pensacola Greyhound Track

951 Dog Track Road
Pensacola, FL 32506
Creek Entertainment Gretna

501 Racetrack Drive
Gretna, FL 32332
TGT Poker Room

755 East Waters Ave
Tampa, FL 33604
Poker Room at Daytona Beach

960 S Williamson Blvd
Daytona Beach, FL 32114

Poker Laws in Florida

Florida Statute 849.086 permits licensed racetracks and tribal casinos to spread authorized poker games. It defines these games as pari-mutuel pools. Unlicensed poker games are illegal if held at a business and there is a buy-in for players. An exception is made for small stakes social poker games.

Home Poker Games

In 1989, Florida passed a social gaming law authorizing small stakes home games. Under Florida Statute 849.085, penny-ante games are legal if held in a residential structure and not at a business or other similar establishment. A pot may not be larger than $10. The house may not take a commission or advertise the game. Debts incurred at social games are not enforceable under Florida law.

In addition to poker, pinochle, bridge, rummy, canasta, hearts, dominoes, and mah-jongg are also legal if spread in a private setting.

Florida Lottery

Florida voters approved the state lottery via referendum in November 1986 and the first tickets went on sale in January 1988. This made Florida the first state in the south to launch a lottery.

Sales and prizes paid during the first year broke national and world records. As the FL Lottery website notes, $95 million worth of scratch-off tickets were sold in the first 12 days of operation to break the national sales record previously held by the CA Lottery.

Later that year, Florida set the world record at the time for a jackpot paid to a single winner when one lucky player claimed a jackpot worth more than $55 million.

Today, the Florida Lottery has one of the widest game varieties in the country. There are 10 different lotto drawings and dozens of scratch-off tickets sold for prices ranging from $1 to $30.

Interstate Florida Lotto Games

  • Powerball
  • Mega Millions
  • Cash4Life
  • Fantasy 5

Interstate Florida Lotto Games

  • Pick 2
  • Pick 3
  • Pick 4
  • Pick 5
  • Florida
  • Jackpot Triple Play

Florida Lottery Laws

Florida Lottery law is codified in Chapter 24 of the state statutes.

This piece of legislation was passed after voters approved the lottery in the 1986 referendum and deals with the day-to-day management of the lottery. Issues such as how winnings are paid, frequency of drawings, methods to sell tickets, manner of compensation to retailers and more are dealt with in this section.

The key points from FL Lottery law include:

  • Minimum age of 18 to play the lottery
  • Lottery may not sell tickets by internet
  • Lottery winners may not remain anonymous
  • Revenue generated by the lottery supports public education in Florida

Currently, revenue generated by the lottery is allocated as follows:

  • 65% in prizes paid
  • 26.9% to Florida education
  • 5.6% to retailer commissions
  • 1.1% to lottery admissions
  • 1.4% to ticket vendor fees

Florida Racing Betting and Parimutuel Wagering

There are three types of legal racing and parimutuel wagering in Florida. The most common is horseracing. There are five major horse racing tracks in Florida:

Gulfstream Park

901 Federal Hwy
Hallandale Beach, FL 33009
Gulfstream Park West

21001 N.W. 27th Ave
Miami Gardens, FL 33056
Hialeah Park Race Track

100 E 32nd St
Hialeah, FL 33013
Pompano Park

777 Isle of Capri Circle
Pompano Beach, FL 33069
Tampa Bay Downs

11225 Race Track Road
Tampa Florida 33626
 

Greyhound racing was once a major industry in Florida, but voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2018 to put an end to all live dog racing by January 2021.

Florida Racing Laws

Horse and greyhound racing was established through the Florida Pari-mutuel Wagering Act. It is Chapter 550 in the Florida Code.

The Florida Pari-mutuel Wagering Act passed the state legislature in 193 and was originally vetoed by Governor Carlton. Both Florida legislative chambers overrode the veto in June 1931 to make Florida one off the first gambling-friendly states in the South.

The tax rate on horse and greyhound racing handle varies, based on paid attendance and takeout. In 2018, Florida collected just over $8.5 million in taxes. Racing taxes are down 38 percent in the last 10 years and 98 percent since the enaction of the Florida Pari-mutuel Racing Act. The expansion of casinos and card clubs is thought to be a reason behind the losses.

Florida Skill-based Gaming

Games of chance are prohibited under Florida Code Chapter 849. There are several exceptions to this law. These include the state lottery, charitable organizations, racing and authorized pari-mutuel racing. The definition of gambling is vague and led daily fantasy sports and skill-based gaming companies to assume that these activities are legal in the state.

Skill competitions for money are legal. This may include an athletic challenge or trivia contest. Anything involving a participant’s skill not using outside forces falls within a skill exception of the state’s gambling laws.

Esports

Florida law does not specifically address esports competitions played for money. There is no case law on the topic, but it is likely legal to enter paid esports competitions as they can be considered contests of skill (similar to paying money to enter a golf tournament).

However, spectators making wagers on esports events would fall afoul of Florida’s sports betting laws. For a paid competition with prize money to be legal, all such prizes would have to be paid to participants only and wagering on the outcome by nonparticipants restricted.

Skill-based Gaming Machines

Skill-based gaming machines are not available in the state’s casinos. However, cruise ships that dock in Florida operate these games. Players will also find skill-based games to be legal at arcades if the prize is not cash.

Florida Charity Bingo Laws

Florida Code 849.0931(c) permits registered charities to spread bingo games in Florida. Nonprofits must exist for three years to receive licensing to spread the games. Qualifying organizations include civic, community, benevolent, religious, or scholastic works or other similar activities. Charities with alcohol licenses are permitted to operate bingo games.

Charities are permitted to hold raffles under Florida Code 849.0935. Any charity that qualifies for bingo may hold raffles. Advertisement of raffles must disclose full rules and the name of the organization holding it. It must also state the beneficiaries of the raffle money.

Florida Gaming Regulator Directory

The following entities regulate gambling in Florida:

Florida Gambling FAQ

Are gambling winnings taxed in Florida?

Florida does not have a state income tax and does not tax gambling winnings, but all winners should contact a qualified tax professional for advice specific to their situation.

Is sports betting legal in Florida?

No. Multiple bills to legalize sports betting have been introduced in Florida, but none have made it through the process to become law. Until the governor signs off on legislation authorizing sports betting, the activity will remain prohibited.

Is poker legal in Florida?

Poker is legal at Seminole casinos and licensed cardrooms. A social gaming exception also allows individuals to play small stakes games at home if they meet certain requirements (most notably no one may win more than $10 in a single hand).

Are home poker games legal in Florida?

Yes. However, by law, the maximum pot size cannot exceed $10.

What is the bet limit at poker in Florida?

There are no bet limits at Florida casinos.

Are live craps and roulette games legal at Florida casinos?

No. Craps and roulette are only available in digital form at the state’s casinos where slots are permitted.

Which casino games are legal in Florida?

At Seminole and south Florida casinos, slots, video poker and keno are legal, as well as digital table games. The Seminole Tribe may also spread table games that use cards or tiles such as blackjack, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Three Card Poker, Pai Gow Poker, Pai Gow Tiles and Let it Ride. Card clubs may offer player-banked games. Racetracks and Seminole casinos may spread live poker.

Are all Florida casinos on reservations?

No. The casinos that offer slot machines outside Broward and Miami-Dade counties are tribal. The casinos in those counties are commercial, as well as the racetracks with card clubs.

Does the Florida Lottery permit anonymous winners?

The Florida Lottery does not permit anonymous winners.

Is smoking permitted at Florida casinos?

While smoking in bars is legal in Florida, smoking is illegal at the state’s commercial casinos. This law does not cover Seminole casinos where smoking is permitted.

Florida Problem Gambling Resources

Gamblers and the loved ones of gamblers who have questions or concerns can turn to the National Council on Problem Gambling for information and to be directed to resources. Additionally, the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling offers help at the local level.