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.

Also On This Page

More Gambling Laws in Florida

  • Casino Games (Legal With Restrictions)
  • Card Rooms (Pari-Mutuel Only)
  • Sports and Race Betting (Pari-Mutuel Betting Legal)
  • Lottery (Legal)
  • Bingo (Legal)
  • Social Gambling (Legal With Restrictions)

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.”

Lottery: Legal

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”

Games include:

  • Powerball
  • Mega Millions
  • Florida Lotto
  • Cash4Life
  • Lucky money
  • Fantasy 5
  • Pick 5
  • Pick 4
  • Pick 3
  • Pick 2
  • Millionaire Raffle
  • scratch offs that range from $1-$25 games

Bingo: Legal

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
  • Bingo
  • Slot machines
  • Blackjack
  • Baccarat
  • Casino war
  • Mississippi stud
  • Pai Gow poker
  • Spanish 21
  • Let it ride
  • Three card poker
  • Omaha

Card rooms, slot machines and pari-mutuel betting are available at some
racetracks throughout the state that are not listed below.

Florida Map

    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

1931

Horse and dog racing are legalized.

1935

Slot machines and jai alai games are legalized.

1937

Florida repeals the one-armed bandit’s slot machines only two years after they’re legalized.

1970

Bingo is legalized.

1979

The Seminole Tribe opens Florida’s first high-stakes Indian bingo hall where bingo jackpots are over $100.

1984

“Cruises to nowhere” are simulcasting are introduced.

1986

The Florida Lottery is approved.

1994

Seminole casinos introduce poker to their game floors.

1996

Card rooms are legalized at pari-mutuel facilities.

2000

Officials seize more than 350 illegal video slot machines that are found in west-central Florida countries.

2004

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.

2006

Broward pari-mutuels open slot casinos.

2007

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.

2009

No-limit 24 hour a day poker games and video lottery terminals are approved at dog and horse tracks by the legislature.

2013

Internet cafes used as fronts for gambling games are banned.

Additional Resources

  • Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering
  • This link takes you to a list of the current pari-mutuel wagering
    establishments that hold an operating license for the 2017-2018 year.

  • Florida Lottery
  • 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.