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Florida Poker Laws: Everything You Need to Know

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If you’re a poker player living in Florida, it’s essential to know the laws governing your state’s game. This article will give you an overview of Florida Poker Laws and discuss some key points players should be aware of. We will also provide links to more detailed information on specific aspects of Florida Poker Laws to stay updated on the latest changes and developments.

Florida: Poker Laws

Where to Play Online Poker in Florida

Looking to play poker in Florida? Check out our list of the best Florida poker sites!

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Is Online Gambling Illegal In Florida?

The issue of online gambling in Florida is tricky, just like it is in most parts of the nation. For the moment, however, the hobby is not looked upon favorably by state law. According to section 849.08:

“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 things of value, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.”

This prohibition against online gambling may change at some point in the future, but it’s likely locked into place for at least a few more years. Much of this is due to the presence of Governor Rick Scott, an anti-gambling politician who’s received a lot of campaign donations from billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

However, there is some hope that online gambling may become legal in Florida. In 2017 a bill was introduced that limited forms of online gambling would be allowed, and although it didn’t pass, it indicates that there is support for the idea. Only time will tell if Florida will eventually join the growing list of states that have legalized online gambling.

Florida Poker and Gambling Laws

Florida

The current Florida gambling landscape is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, there are no legal casinos in the state. On the other hand, however, poker and other forms of gambling are allowed in specific venues.

The problem with these restrictions is that the state has entered into numerous agreements with many of Florida’s Seminole Native American tribes.

At the moment, if someone wants to operate in this state, they must obtain support from the Seminole tribes or try to work around the tribes. Unfortunately, the second option rarely works, as the Seminole has the most significant gambling interest in the state and is hard-pressed to keep their monopoly.

But unfortunately, it fell through due to the Seminole compact. The Seminole leaders have regularly tried to negotiate these changes with the state authorities, but they’ve repeatedly walked away from the deal.

It doesn’t look like full gambling legalization will soon be coming to Florida. However, given the ever-changing landscape of gambling laws in America, it’s always possible that things could change in the future.

A Detailed Look at Florida Gambling Laws

“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.”

So by including “by any device whatsoever,” this would involve gambling on electronic devices, so the fact that it the gambling occurs by electronic means would not make it exempt from this law, in spite of what some people may erroneously think.

However, does poker qualify as a game of chance here? The Florida courts have defined this as a game which relies significantly on the element of chance, and this is of course rather vague. It is of note that among the prohibited games mentioned in this section, “cards” is listed first, and poker is indeed a card game.

However, it does mention cards and other games of chance, but what if poker is seen as not a game of chance but a game of skill primarily? Well even if this is the case it wouldn‘t matter, as section 849.14 prohibits wagering based upon contests of skill as well, so that won’t even help.

The only saving grace here is that there has never been anyone prosecuted in the United States for playing poker online, even in the states with the harshest laws against it, like Washington State which has laws making playing online poker explicitly illegal. So if it isn’t being prosecuted there wouldn’t seem to be any real reason to be concerned, even if it is illegal.

 

Florida Gambling Law Resources

Short History of Gambling in Florida

Gambling has been a part of Florida’s history for over a century. It all began in 1888 when Henry Flagler built the Bacchus Club casino. This landmark attracted high-roller gambling and poker fans from all over.

In the 1920s, Tampa and Miami thrived with underground gambling and poker games. The most popular game at the time was Bolita, a Cuban game that required real money betting. In the 1930s, crime bosses like Al Capone led to more illicit gambling circles and real money poker games throughout the state.

In recent years, gambling has become increasingly popular in Florida, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. The stories of murder, mayhem and corrupt police officers were familiar, and while some of them were true, illegal gambling and poker betting became so popular in the 1940s that purchasing elections in Florida was thought to be a popular casino game.

It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that gambling began to be seen in a more positive light. In 1955, the state passed a law allowing horse racing, and in 1968, voters approved a constitutional amendment that legalized casinos.

Today, gambling is a billion-dollar industry in Florida, providing jobs for tens of thousands of people and generating billions of dollars in tax revenue for the state. And while there are still some who see it as a destructive force, there is no doubt that gambling has played an important role in Florida’s history.

Poker games with a no-limit Texas Hold ’em format were legalized in Florida’s real money betting rooms and all Seminole poker rooms in 2010.

In 2022, Florida’s online and offline gambling industry will be active. More than two dozen open cash-authorized poker rooms, more than half-a-dozen tribal gaming casinos, and three race tracks can be found throughout the heavily populated tourist destination of FL.

The Future of Gambling in Florida

Florida is a significant poker destination for US players, with numerous real-world poker rooms distributed across the state. The state also allows multiple other gambling games, and many of its 21+ million residents have shown great interest in them.

Despite this, it seems highly unlikely that Florida will fully legalize online poker any time soon due to the problems with the Seminoles and the lack of interest from the governor and the lawmakers. This is in contrast to the attitude the people in the state have, which is more favorable towards gambling in general. It remains to be seen whether or not this pattern will continue in the future.

However, for the next several years, players in Florida will be restricted to playing at land-based tribal casinos, online gambling sites that accept US poker players, and online poker rooms.

Those who want to play online poker should know that many offshore sites are entirely secure. They have the appropriate licensing in place to ensure that they are safe for international players. Despite numerous rules and limitations, they also found methods to allow American gamers to play their games, making it more difficult for a typical American to do so.

Final Thoughts

That’s a quick overview of the current gambling landscape in Florida. If you’re interested in reading more about other states’ poker laws specifically, we’ve got a comprehensive guide on our website. Be sure to check it out for all the latest news and information on this topic.

In the meantime, thanks for reading, and be sure to stay tuned for more great content from us here at PokerLaw!

FAQ

When Will Be Legal to Play Online Poker in Florida? The legal status of online poker in Florida is still up in the air. While the state has made some progress in recent years toward legalizing and regulating online gambling, poker has yet to be mentioned explicitly in any poker legislation. This means that, at present, it is not technically legal to play online poker in Florida. Several bills have been introduced in the state legislature that would legalize online poker, and it is possible that one of these could pass in the coming years.
Do Florida Poker Sites Offer Other Casino Gambling Options? If you’re looking for an online casino in Florida that offers more than just poker, there are plenty of options to choose from. You can find a complete list of our recommended casinos at the top of this page. Just look for the ones that have a wide selection of games listed under their “Casino” tab.
What Happens if I Play on an Illegal Poker Site? In most cases, you’ll simply be asked to stop playing and to self-exclude yourself from the site. However, if the site is based overseas, there may be little that authorities can do to enforce this request. Playing on an illegal poker site may expose you to security risks. Many players have struggled to withdraw money and recover player funds when they fold.

About the Author

Sadonna Price
Author Sadonna is a mom of two and an avid poker player who also enjoys online casino games. She has been part of the online gambling industry for over a decade, working as a news and blog writer. Sadonna still plays Texas hold’em in her free time while her daily job revolves around providing insights into the online gambling world using her creativity and writing skills.
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