Florida's Gambling Laws Explained 2023 Version
Despite Florida's huge gambling market, customers are limited to just seven tribal casinos and various horse tracks and (now-defunct) dog tracks that operate as card rooms.
In fact, this latter aspect of the FL gambling industry has caused the state to be in violation of its exclusivity compact with the Seminole Tribe, who had a favorable ruling in federal court that annulled their casino profit-sharing obligations. This has cost the state over $400 million per year since 2019, when the tribe stopped paying. Since then, all expanded gambling measures in FL have hinged on the renewal of that Seminole compact.
Fortunately, as a bettor or gambler in FL, you don't have to be stuck in the middle while the state government is a stick in the mud. That's because you are free to legally gamble anytime.
Whether you're a casino player, sports betting fan, or poker player, if you're looking for high-quality and safe gaming experience, you can get one by visiting any legitimate Florida online gambling site a shot. However, before you consider participating in Internet gambling, we suggest you review the information concerning Florida online gambling laws.
Below, we address the details of Florida betting law as it pertains to both brick-and-mortar and online gambling. To learn more about all FL laws concerning casinos, sportsbooks, and poker rooms, our short guide has everything under the sun for residents of the Sunshine State.
Where Does Florida Stand On Legal Online Casino Gambling?
Florida has recently banned "Internet cafes" that were operating as unregulated online casinos, though the state's view towards online gaming in general doesn't appear to be antagonistic.
However, there are significant hurdles due to the fact that FL casino gambling is the exclusive domain of the Seminole and Miccosukee tribal nations. This means that the state cannot unilaterally expand gambling online without the tribes' involvement and approval. Talks are ongoing, but they are moving at a snail's pace.
In the meantime, it is legal for FL residents to gamble online at legitimate offshore casinos. These venues operate outside of US jurisdiction, and there are no FL gambling laws or federal gambling laws that bar access to these destinations. Over an estimated one million FL gamblers already use these sites and have been members at them for over a generation.
Naturally, FL would like to put itself in a position to bring some of these customers back into the domestic gaming fold by offering real money online casinos in Florida, but no iGaming legislation has made its way through the state congress to date.
That said, the state does appear to be moving towards allowing tribal brick-and-mortar casinos to offer the two casino games they're currently unable to provide: craps and roulette. While the 2020 legislative session concluded without any such gambling legislation being passed, there is enough momentum that the issue is likely to be revisited in 2024.
Where Does Florida Stand On Legal Online Sports Betting?
Bookmaking is a serious offense under Florida law. However, you're a sports bettor, not a bookie, and there are no laws barring individual FL residents from betting on sports online provided they use a legitimately licensed offshore operator.
To reiterate: The existing laws surrounding sports betting in FL target bookmakers and not players, and they address unregulated gaming operators specifically.
Legally licensed and regulated online sports betting is not prohibited as long as those operators are based internationally outside of US jurisdiction. Fortunately, there are several high quality, safe, and legitimate Florida friendly online sportsbooks to choose from.
As for when Florida will make domestic sports betting legal so that operators in the state can offer betting lines on all the most popular college and pro teams in the region, that remains to be seen.
Right now, the Seminole Tribe of Florida is exercising its leverage with exclusive gaming rights to prevent commercial sportsbooks from operating in the region. To make any progress on the domestic sports gambling front, the state will likely have to give sports betting exclusivity to the Seminole. And even then, it's unclear whether or not that would include online sports betting.
Where Does Florida Stand On Legal Online Poker?
Online poker is becoming increasingly popular in FL. The Sunshine State does not specifically prohibit online poker at the individual level, but there are laws against online poker operators that are based in the state. Recently, there have been attempts to legalize online poker in FL, though this has gotten nowhere.
In fact, when the state approved non-house-banked poker at non-tribal FL venues, it violated the Seminole Tribe's exclusivity compact, and fixing this is now the biggest gambling issue before the FL legislature. Online poker won't be addressed until long after this issue is resolved.
Meanwhile, there are a number of legal Florida online poker rooms which operate and are regulated outside of the United States. As long as you're at least 18 and live in FL, you can use these online poker rooms to play for and win real money.
We do stress that being selective in choosing the brands to which you will bring your business is paramount in accessing a safe and secure online gambling experience, which is why you need to read our above-linked Florida online poker guide.
Florida Gambling Laws
There are a number of Florida gambling laws to be aware of, but the long and short of it is that the following markets are currently legal in a domestic operator capacity:
- Tribal casino gaming (21+ Class III, 18+ Class II)
- Horse racing betting (18+)
- Greyhound betting (18+, expires Dec. 31, 2020)
- Jai Alai betting (18+)
- Cardroom poker (age limit varies)
- State lottery (18+)
- Charitable gambling (18+)
If you sign up with an online operator that is based overseas and is regulated and certified to offer gambling opportunities to FL players, you can enjoy all the following markets over the Internet legally and safely:
- Casino gambling (18+)
- Sports betting (18+)
- Online poker (18+)
- Horse racing betting (18+)
- Greyhound racing (18+)
- Online lotteries (18+)
In addition to FL gambling laws, there are two federal gambling laws to be aware of. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) places stringent regulatory oversight on how online gambling-related transactions are processed, which is why we recommend Bitcoin gambling for deposits and withdrawals when playing offshore (as the UIGEA can lead to credit/debit card rejections).
There is also the Federal Wire Act to consider, though this applies only to sports betting and prevents FL residents from having their sports bets accepted by sportsbooks in other states.
Neither law prohibits online gambling for FL residents at operators based outside of the United States, so as long as you are playing at an online casino, sportsbook, poker room, racebook, or bingo hall that is legally licensed in its own home country, you are in the clear.
FL Gambling Law Guide Summary
The online gambling professionals who created this guide consider it critical that FL players have access to accurate and up-to-date information regarding the online gambling laws in Florida.
Throughout this guide, we only recommend gambling brands which are legally licensed, certified, and regulated by respected and legitimate governing jurisdictions. This is true for the online casinos, Florida online bingo halls, and the poker rooms and sports betting sites we list in this guide.
To review the official gambling laws for Florida in their original language, you'll want to visit the Florida State Legislature website, which provides these laws and statutes in their entirety. That source does not provide any legal interpretation of the laws, however. If legal FL gambling advice is what you're looking for, then contacting an attorney is your best option.
***The information on this page is intended to reflect our educated opinions and analyses based on personal experience as industry professionals. It is not intended in any way to serve as legal advice. We are not lawyers and are not qualified to provide professional legal advice in any capacity.