Learn more about the history, current state, and expected future of gambling culture and casino resorts in Florida.
The Climate of Gambling in Florida from Past to Present
The State of Florida legalized pari-mutuel betting in 1932 – during the height of the Great Depression – to help generate more revenue, and since then, things have changed a great deal. In fact, gambling likely spurred tourism that still continues today in places like Tampa and Orlando. Here’s what everyone should know about gambling in the Sunshine State and its relationship with Native American tribes.
How Gambling has Grown in Florida
Sports betting legalization in 1932 was just the first step in a long line of legal milestones for Floridians that ultimately led to today’s incredibly diverse gambling culture. In 1935, the state legalized Jai-Alai. In 1935, Florida legalized slot machines, but the law that legalized them was repealed in 1973 and resulted in the removal of slot machines from Florida casinos.
It wasn’t until 1979 that Native American bingo halls were legalized, and this meant that various tribes could support themselves with the profits. Then, in 1984, some companies attempted to skirt around laws by allowing patrons to board cruises out into the ocean to gamble on a cruise ship. They were coined “Cruises to Nowhere” because there was no particular destination and gambling was the only purpose. The Florida lottery was legalized in 1986 even though casinos were shot down in that same year (and again in 1994), but voters officially legalized casino gambling in Florida in 2004.
The Florida Gambling Culture
Though legal casinos are still relatively new for Floridians, they are incredibly popular and add to the state’s overall culture. Today, there are more than 130 casinos spread across the state, which means that out of the 46 states in the US with legalized gambling, Florida ranks fourth in sheer casino volume. It is this volume that has improved upon the gambling culture across the state. Back in the 1930s, when gambling was illegal, Al Capone moved to Miami and furthered the notion that gambling was something sinister. As the years went on and more people discovered the excitement possible with responsible gambling, the attitude shifted, and the pastime is no longer soaked in negative stigma. Florida casinos are now so well-received that they regularly raise money for various charities, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
How Gambling Boosts Florida Tourism
Scholarly articles have shown a significant link between gambling and tourism in cities and states around the world, and many believe that the introduction of gambling to the state in the Great Depression years led to Florida’s growth into the popular tourist destination it is today. People come from all over the country – and even from around the world – to experience some of the best in cities like Tampa, which is known for its superior casinos. Of these, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has received a great deal of news coverage in recent years, and the state’s proposed 31-year contract with the Seminole tribe could bring even more action to Floridians and tourists alike by allowing sports betting at both Seminole casinos and the state’s racetracks.
Current Gambling Regulations
Gambling in Florida is legal, whether you want to bet on the horses at a track, play poker with friends at a casino table, or even pull the slots and hope for big wins. The current legislature limits casinos to the state’s various Indian reservations – namely, the Seminole Tribe – though other reservations have on-site casinos, as well. The state allows for pari-mutuel-style card rooms and penny-ante games with very low winnings to be conducted by adults in their homes. Though the state does not regulate online gambling or allow online casinos to operate within its borders, offshore casinos are technically not illegal, so many Floridians turn to these to gamble without leaving home.
What to Look for in Florida Casinos
If you are interested in checking out a Florida casino, you can find the Seminole Hard Rock Casino & Hotel in Tampa, which is arguably the most popular venue in the state. Aside from this, if you want to gamble online, you can find numerous offshore online casinos, too. Look for no deposit bonuses since getting started is easier when you don’t have to deposit right away, and be sure that you check out all the terms and conditions associated with the offer before you invest your time.
Things you might want to consider before creating your account include:
Bonus Opportunities – It is important that you take the time to understand the bonuses being offered to you. There are hundreds of online casinos out there, and they all offer some sort of bonus in order to remain competitive. Choose the one that best suits your needs.
Wagering Requirements – Almost every casino will have wagering and playthrough requirements you will need to meet before you can withdraw anything you win with a bonus provided to you. For example, if you win $25 and there is a 25x playthrough requirement, you must wager a total of $625 before you can cash out your $25 winnings.
Customer Service – Though online casinos should go out of their way to minimize any issues, you should always check customer service availability before you get started. See what routes are available – email, telephone, live chat, and others – and find out what sorts of hours the customer service team will be available to you.
Game Selection – Whether you’re new to gambling or you’ve been at it for years, there’s a good chance you have an idea of what you want to play. Browse the venue’s selection and make certain they offer enough to keep you interested.
Third Party Reviews – The best way to ensure that a venue you’ve chosen will be safe is to read third party reviews. Take these with a grain of salt, though, since people are far more likely to report negative experiences than positive ones.
Overall, the State of Florida has more casinos per capita than all but three other states where casinos are legal, which makes it easy to see just how important gambling is to tourism and culture in the state. Whether you live in Florida or you’re planning a visit, finding a quality casino is easy, even if you choose offshore online gambling, instead.