Gaming Laws in Florida
The state of Florida already has multiple laws in place to allow for many types of legal gambling in the state including racing, casinos, and poker. Current Florida House of Representatives leader Dana Young is trying to push through legislation that would bring even more gambling options to the residents of Florida.
Young's bill could make way for the Poarch Band of Creek tribe to build a full-fledged casino in Northwest Florida. The state currently has an exclusive deal with the Seminole tribe, but that is set to expire in the summer of 2015 and that tribe has no casinos in Northern Florida at the moment. A casino in Northern Florida would make gambling an easier option for locals and potentially bring in revenue from neighboring states like Alabama that have strict anti-gambling laws.
Current owners of dog tracks in the state of Florida are worried that they may have to shut down due to the dip in dog racing's popularity making the sites unprofitable. The new bill would allow for these locations to continue operating as casinos even after they discontinue dog racing.
If passed, Young's bill would bring more access to gambling around the state of Florida.
Sports Betting in Florida
While Florida is very progressive in its laws about gaming overall, sports betting is prohibited across the state as it is throughout most of the country. Laws are in place to more heavily punish bookmakers than those placing the bets.
Many factors are taken into consideration when determining who is illegally bookmaking in the state of Florida. These factors include anyone who takes or receives more than five wagers a day, takes wagers totaling more than $500 in a single day or $1500 in a single week, and taking wagers on both sides of a contest at the same point spread. As a result, formal bookmaking is illegal in the state of Florida and unsanctioned by the state.
Florida residents that want to bet on sports often stay away from local illegal bookies and opt to bet online instead. Sportsbooks that are run offshore are not under the jurisdiction of Florida's laws, and the state of Florida has never punished or charged anyone in the state for using offshore sportsbooks to place wagers. While bettors that are found making bets with local bookies could find themselves in trouble, there are no laws in Florida's constitution that specifically prohibit betting online.
Poker and Casino in Florida
The state of Florida has three different types of casinos for its residents; Native American casinos, “racinos”, and casino ships. Casino ships run out of Cape Canaveral and Jacksonville, taking players into international waters where they are free to gamble as they are outside of the United States.
Racinos are horse racing and dog racing tracks that offer visitors the chance to bet on both racing and casino games such as slots, table games and poker. Gulfstream Park, Calder Race Course and Tampa Bay Downs are three well known race tracks that run graded stakes races with purses built up by the casinos on the property.
The Seminole Casinos are widely popular in the state of Florida, offering four locations across the state including the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel in Tampa, Florida and in Hollywood, Florida. These Native American casinos offer standard casino games like slot machines, blackjack, poker and more. These poker rooms host tournaments year round.
Poker players in Florida have many options to play in live cash games and tournaments, but some residents also play at offshore poker rooms online. There are no laws in the Florida Constitution that specifically prohibit playing poker online.
Other Gaming Options in Florida
In addition to standard casino games and racing, bingo and lotto are also popular in the state of Florida. Bingo halls are legal if authorized and can be found all over the state.
The Florida lottery is one of the highest grossing lotteries in the United States, bringing in revenue of over $5 billion in the fiscal year of 2013. First legalized in the state in 1988, scratch-off games have been popular since inception. The lottery has grown in recent years with the addition of interstate games such as the Powerball in 2009 and the Mega Millions in 2013.