Since the dawn of history, there has always been gambling. But there have always been issues with gaming in Florida. Because lawmakers and Floridians keep fighting to advance their particular agendas, these gambling rules have changed.

While we will briefly touch on the history of both offline and online gaming in this state,’s Florida online casinos and gambling guide is a good place to start if you want more details.

Florida’s Legal Timeline of Gambling

During the Great You can find a cute chronology of the problem here and here. I’ll also provide the synopsis that follows. ONLY in relation to congressional action is this gambling. Gambling in the Seminole Reservations will be covered in a separate segment.

↠In 1931, the lawmakers overrode Governor Carlton’s veto and approved horse and dog racing.
↠Slot machines and Jai-alai wagering were prevalent in 1935. (a popular sport in South Florida)
↠Slots, however, were only in place for two years before being abolished in 1937 as a result of a reactionary backlash.
↠Small-stakes bingo was legalized in 1970; penny-ante poker (pots cannot surpass $10) was legalized in private homes in Florida in 1989; and poker was legalized in pari-mutuel establishments (locations where bets are placed on horse races and Jai-alai) in 1996. (same pot limit)
↠2003 saw a $2 increase in poker bets with a three-raise maximum.
↠Voters in the 2004 referendum supported allowing slot machines in gambling establishments in Dade and Broward counties. ↠Pari-mutuel wagering increased to $5 and no-limits from $2. In 2007, Texas Holdem and higher stakes poker tournaments were made permissible. Legislature approves no-limit poker in 2010

Another issue that has repeatedly appeared on Florida ballots is gambling. Voters have typically opposed significant increases of gambling. This hasn’t prevented wealthy interests from trying to get legislation through the ballot box without going through the more conservative legislature.

Florida Gambling Rules Overview

With a few exceptions, gambling is still prohibited in Florida. These consist of:

State Lottery

In Florida, there are more than 13,000 lottery shops. Lottery players have the option of playing regional or multi-state faves (like Mega Millions). Besides the daily lotto draws, a player can also choose to purchase scratch. However, the player must be 18 years of age or older in order to join the lottery.

Cruise Ship Gaming

Made available and legalized in 1984, passengers get to experience a ‘Cruise to Nowhere’. This voyage travels three miles into the Atlantic Ocean or nine miles to the Gulf of Mexico. Both of these choices transport players over territorial seas where the state’s gambling regulations are no longer in effect. Players can engage in exotic activities like roulette, blackjack, video poker, craps, slots, and more.

Pari-mutuel Betting

Pari-mutuel wagering was approved by a single vote in 1931, allowing participants to wager on horse and greyhound races in Florida. Also available for wagering are slot devices. Poker and horse racing are both available to participants 18 and older, but gaming machines are only available to those 21 and older.

Tribal Casinos

Now that we’ve established that business casinos are prohibited and against the law in Florida. However, tribal buildings have been in use for many years. To play poker or bingo in a tribal institution, a player must be at least 18 years old. To play table or computer games, players must be at least 21 years old. The Seminole community is home to the majority of casinos and Class III devices. The Miccosukee tribe, in comparison, only has one casino with Class II devices.

What About Online Gambling? Is it Legal in Florida?

The law states that there is no such entity as online gambling in Florida (section 849.08). For the past few years, the Florida legislature has worked diligently to legalize sports betting. However, Governor DeSantis opposes the state’s legalization of internet gambling.

As a result, the state’s legalization of online gambling is moving more slowly than normal. Three new laws were enacted in 2021 to legalize online gambling in Florida. Tax rates and yearly license fees vary between these measures.

But the best news is that all of these bills legalize sports betting on the internet. Seminole tribe, which runs almost all the casinos in south Florida, is the biggest hindrance to legalizing internet gambling in the state.

The reason for this is that if gambling and sports betting are legalized throughout the state, the Seminole community will suffer a loss. A better tribal compact needs to be created and put forth to make sure that both the state and the tribe profit from this decision to legalize gambling and make things work in the citizens’ favor.

Are Online Poker and Casinos Allowed in Florida?

There aren’t any licensed casinos or internet poker rooms operating in Florida right now. You must go to a Seminole casino if you want to play poker or gambling games legally. Players who are found playing at online casinos are doing so on unlicensed offshore gaming sites.

But keep the confidence! In the upcoming years, Florida will probably legalize online gaming. Sports betting may end up being the first activity in the state to be legalized online, according to predictions.

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