All in One Guide to Gambling in Florida
Gambling is a huge source of income for the state of Florida. Tax revenue from slot machines alone totaled over $70 million in 2016.
But not all types of gambling are legal in Florida.
Online Florida gambling sites, roulette, craps, daily fantasy sports and some other games are illegal in Florida.
This page covers all these topics, and more.
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Online Gambling and Florida Law
Is Online Gambling Legal in Florida?
No written laws pertain specifically to online gambling in Florida. There's not a clear answer to this question, but our best guess is that online gambling is illegal in Florida.
Section 849.08 of the Florida Statutes says this about gambling:
"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."
Thus, playing any game of chance online is illegal.
Most people now consider poker a game of skill. You might think that this would make poker legal in Florida. You'd be wrong, though.
Section 849.14 covers games of skill.
Here's what it says:
"Whoever stakes, bets or wagers any money or other thing of value upon the result of any trial or contest of skill, speed or power or endurance of human or beast, or whoever receives in any manner whatsoever any money or other thing of value staked, bet or wagered, or offered for the purpose of being staked, bet or wagered, by or for any other person upon any such result, or whoever knowingly becomes the custodian or depositary of any money or other thing of value so staked, bet, or wagered upon any such result, or whoever aids, or assists, or abets in any manner in any of such acts all of which are hereby forbidden, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree"
Based on this, games of skill like poker are also illegal.
This section of the Florida Statutes doesn't reference devices like computers, but that doesn't mean it doesn't apply.
Can I Get Arrested for Gambling Online in Florida?
Online gambling is illegal in Florida. Our advice is to obey the law no matter where you live.
This does not, however, prevent us from discussing levels of risk involved with various activities.
No one has ever been arrested or prosecuted for playing online casino games at Florida gambling sites. The only arrests we know of related to online gambling were in Oklahoma, and these were related to online sports betting.
Risk levels for players are consistently low. We recommend several offshore gaming companies who would probably be thrilled to serve customers in Florida.
There's a legal risk, but it's small.
Are Daily Fantasy Sports Legal in Florida?
No, daily fantasy sports are not yet legal in Florida.
In 2015, a state senator and representative started a campaign to legalize daily fantasy sports.
It hasn't gotten far, but heavy pushes to legalize daily fantasy sports in Florida are still happening. We wouldn't be surprised to see it legalized in the future.
Are Offshore Gambling Sites Safe?
The key to finding safe offshore gambling sites is research. We offer several recommendations on our site based on our own research, but you should do your own due diligence, too.
You should research how long the site has been in business and where they're licensed.
To keep a business open, you need a steady stream of customers. Finding a site that has been in business for a considerable length of time means they're liked enough to have repeat customers.
You should consider where a site is licensed since different jurisdictions have different standards. You should look for sites that are licensed in jurisdictions with stricter regulations, such as the United Kingdom.
Think about the following, too:
How Do I Choose a Good Online Gaming Site?
- Game Variety -
What kind of casino games do you want to play? Not all online casinos offer all casino games. Some players prefer live dealer action, while others are only interested in having a wide variety of slot machines to choose from. It's dumb to sign up for an online casino that only offers slots if you're interested in playing card games.
- Tournaments -
If you're interested in tournaments, be sure to check out the sites tournament section. This is where you can find information like the type of tournaments they hold, the qualifications for each tournament and the tournament schedule. Not all online casinos offer tournaments.
- Bonus Terms & Conditions -
Almost all online gaming sites offer sign-up bonuses. Read the conditions of the bonus. You need to know how much you must wager and what other qualifications you must meet in order to get the bonus.
- Read Reviews -
Reading reviews from the members of the site is the tried and true way to get uncensored information. Everything you read on the site that's written by them is simply advertising to you in order to get you to sign up. Learn how to distinguish between real reviews and those written by shills.
Look for pages that review both the pros and cons of the site from online gamblers like you.
- Customer Complaints -
Try doing an internet search with the name of the site and the word "complaint." You might be able to find some complaints or issues with the site posted various places around the internet along with how the site handled the complaint. Keep in mind, too, that not all player complaints are legitimate. Read everything with a grain of salt and a certain amount of cynicism.
- Deposit Options -
Visit the cashier's page on each site to find the deposit options available. If they don't have an option you're familiar with or comfortable using, there's no reason to sign up for the site.
- Contact Customer Service -
The point of contacting customer service is to see their level of professionalism and to see how quickly they get back with you. Even if you don't have a real question, send them a simple question. For example, ask how long it takes to get your funds when you transfer your winnings to your bank.
You can tell a lot about a company's customer service by how they respond to a question from a potential customer.
- Restricted States -
Some offshore gambling sites have a restricted list of states they can't service. It's important to check if your state is on this list or not. You theoretically could end up signing up for the site and winning some money, but they won't legally be allowed to pay it to you.
Many of the offshore casinos we recommend on this site are happy to do business with customers from Florida. Start your research by reading our reviews. We think you'll find them more complete and comprehensive than any you'll find on our competitors' sites.
Breaking down what exactly is or isn't legal in Florida. Gambling Venues in Florida
Where to gamble in the state of Florida. The History of Gaming Laws in Florida
A brief history of Florida laws regarding gambling. The Furture of Gambling in Florida
What does the future of gambling look like in Florida?
More Gambling Laws in Florida
Casinos: Legal With Restrictions
Casinos can have card rooms that include poker and dominos. They're also allowed to offer other games like slot machines, blackjack and baccarat.
But craps, roulette and keno are illegal in Florida.
According to sections 849.08 and 849.11 games of chance are illegal in Florida.
Here's what they say:
"849.08Gambling. - 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
849.11Plays at games of chance by lot. - Whoever sets up, promotes or plays at any game of chance by lot or with dice, cards, numbers, hazards or any other gambling device whatever for, or for the disposal of money or other thing of value or under the pretext of a sale, gift or delivery thereof, or for any right, share or interest therein, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree"
Card Rooms: Pari-Mutuel Only
According to section 849.086 of the Florida Statutes, card rooms are legal at casinos and pari-mutuel facilities such as racetracks.
Here's what it says about card rooms:
"It is the intent of the Legislature to provide additional entertainment choices for the residents of and visitors to the state, promote tourism in the state, and provide additional state revenues through the authorization of the playing of certain games in the state at facilities known as cardrooms which are to be located at licensed pari-mutuel facilities. To ensure the public confidence in the integrity of authorized cardroom operations, this act is designed to strictly regulate the facilities, persons, and procedures related to cardroom operations. Furthermore, the Legislature finds that authorized games as herein defined are considered to be pari-mutuel style games and not casino gaming because the participants play against each other instead of against the house."
Here's what the Florida Statutes says about methods of wagering at card rooms:
"No wagering may be conducted using money or other negotiable currency. Games may only be played utilizing a wagering system whereby all players' money is first converted by the house to tokens or chips which shall be used for wagering only at that specific cardroom."
According to the Department of Business & Professional Regulation website, only poker and dominoes are allowed in cardrooms.
Here's what it says:
"Only poker and dominoes are authorized for play within Florida's licensed cardrooms. Authorized games are played in a non-banking manner, which means that the house is not a participant in the game and the players compete only against each other."
Sports and Race Betting: Pari-Mutuel Betting Legal
Pari-mutuel betting is legal in Florida on horse races, dog races and other activities - but only if they take place in a pari-mutuel facility.
According to section 550.155 of the Florida statutes:
"Wagering on the results of a horserace, dograce, or on the scores or points of a jai alai game and the sale of tickets or other evidences showing an interest in or a contribution to a pari-mutuel pool are allowed within the enclosure of any pari-mutuel facility licensed and conducted under this chapter but are not allowed elsewhere in this state, must be supervised by the division, and are subject to such reasonable rules that the division prescribes."
Here's a question and answer from Department of Business & Professional Regulation website regarding greyhound betting online:
"Q. The Internet offers wagering on greyhound races in Florida and other states; is this legal?
A. The Florida Attorney General is of the opinion that this type of activity is illegal. The only place that pari-mutuel wagering can be carried out in Florida is at a pari-mutuel wagering track or fronton."
Florida has a state regulated lottery.
According to the Florida Lottery website:
"The Florida Lottery is responsible for contributing more than $31 billion to education and sending more than 750,000 students to college through the Bright Futures Scholarship Program. The Florida Lottery reinvests 98 percent of its revenue back into Florida's economy through prize payouts, commissions to more than 13,000 Florida retailers and transfers to education. Since 1988, Florida Lottery games have paid more than $52.4 billion in prizes and made more than 1,900 people millionaires"
- Mega Millions
- Florida Lotto
- Lucky money
- Fantasy 5
- Pick 5
- Pick 4
- Pick 3
- Pick 2
- Millionaire Raffle
- scratch offs that range from $1-$25 games
Bingo for profit at casinos as well as bingo for nonprofit charities are both legal.
Here's what section 849.0931 of the Florida statutes has about authorizing bingo games for nonprofits:
"None of the provisions of this chapter shall be construed to prohibit or prevent charitable, nonprofit, or veterans' organizations engaged in charitable, civic, community, benevolent, religious, or scholastic works or other similar endeavors, which organizations have been in existence and active for a period of 3 years or more, from conducting bingo games or instant bingo, provided the entire proceeds derived from the conduct of such games, less actual business expenses for articles designed for and essential to the operation, conduct, and playing of bingo or instant bingo, are donated by such organizations to the endeavors mentioned above. In no case may the net proceeds from the conduct of such games be used for any other purpose whatsoever. The proceeds derived from the conduct of bingo games or instant bingo shall not be considered solicitation of public donations."
Social Gambling: Legal With Restrictions
According to Section 849.085 of the Florida Statutes, certain games are allowed at home.
Here's what it says about these games known as penny-ante games:
" (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, it is not a crime for a person to participate in a game described in this section if such game is conducted strictly in accordance with this section.
(2) As used in this section:
(a) "Penny-ante game" means a game or series of games of poker, pinochle, bridge, rummy, canasta, hearts, dominoes, or mah-jongg in which the winnings of any player in a single round, hand, or game do not exceed $10 in value.
(b) "Dwelling" means residential premises owned or rented by a participant in a penny-ante game and occupied by such participant or the common elements or common areas of a condominium, cooperative, residential subdivision, or mobile home park of which a participant in a penny-ante game is a unit owner, or the facilities of an organization which is tax-exempt under s. 501(c)(7) of the Internal Revenue Code. The term "dwelling" also includes a college dormitory room or the common recreational area of a college dormitory or a publicly owned community center owned by a municipality or county.
(3) A penny-ante game is subject to the following restrictions:
(a) The game must be conducted in a dwelling."
According to the above information, penny-ante games such as poker, rummy, etc. can take place in a residential area if each hand or round doesn't go over $10.
Gambling Venues in Florida
All casinos in Florida, which are listed below, are located on Indian reservation land.
Games found at these casinos include:
- Texas holdem
- Slot machines
- Casino war
- Mississippi stud
- Pai Gow poker
- Spanish 21
- Let it ride
- Three card poker
Card rooms, slot machines and pari-mutuel betting are available at some racetracks throughout the state that are not listed below.
1 - Miccosuke Resort & Gaming
500 SW 177th Ave
Miami, FL 33194
Phone number: (305) 222-4600
2 - Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee
506 S 1st ST
Immokalee, FL 34142
Phone number: (239) 658-1313
3 - Seminole Casino Brighton
17735 Reservation Rd
Okeechobee, FL 34974
Phone number: (863) 467-9998
4 - Seminole Casino Coconut Creek
4 - 5550 NW 40th St
Coconut Creek, FL 33073
Phone number: (954) 977-6700
5 - Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood
1 Seminole Way
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314
Phone number: (866) 502-7529
6 - Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa
5223 Orient Rd
Tampa, FL 33610
Phone number: (813) 627-7625
7 - Seminole Classic Casino Hollywood
4150 N State Rd 7
Hollywood, FL 33021
Phone number: (954) 961-3220
History of Gambling in Florida
Horse and dog racing are legalized.
Florida repeals the one-armed bandit's slot machines only two years after they're legalized.
The Seminole Tribe opens Florida's first high-stakes Indian bingo hall where bingo jackpots are over $100.
The Florida Lottery is approved.
Card rooms are legalized at pari-mutuel facilities.
Tracks and jai alai frontons in Broward and Miami-Dade counties are approved to have slot machines. The Seminole tribe opens two new locations in Tampa and Hollywood called Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
The Governor signs an agreement that allows Las Vegas-style slots, baccarat, and blackjack games to be held at the 7 Seminoles tribal casinos. The legislature approves domino games, instant bingo, and regulated poker tournaments to be held in card rooms. They also raise bet limits from $2 to $5 and allow increased hours for slot machine operators.
Slot machines and jai alai games are legalized.
Bingo is legalized.
"Cruises to nowhere" are simulcasting are introduced.
Seminole casinos introduce poker to their game floors.
Officials seize more than 350 illegal video slot machines that are found in west-central Florida countries.
Broward pari-mutuels open slot casinos.
No-limit 24 hour a day poker games and video lottery terminals are approved at dog and horse tracks by the legislature.
Internet cafes used as fronts for gambling games are banned.
- Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering
- Florida Lottery
This link takes you to a list of pari-mutuel wagering establishments that hold an operating license for the 2015-2016 year.
This link takes you to the Florida lottery websites information page.
The Future & Your Views
Florida tribal casinos offer bingo, poker, blackjack and several other casino games for residents to enjoy.
If you want to play roulette or craps, you'll have to take a cruise ship that heads to international waters or visit another state.
The only change to Florida gambling laws we see happening soon is daily fantasy sports. There has been a push to legalize it recently.
Legalizing Florida gambling sites could be in the future, but there hasn't been much of a push for it.
Florida law enforcement hasn't arrested anyone for gambling online, so it's a low-risk activity. Only you can decide what your risk tolerance is. Our advice is to obey the law.
If you decide you're okay with the risk, consider playing at one of the Florida gambling sites we've researched and vetted here.