The history of state-sanctioned gambling in Florida dates back to 1931 when local legislators legalized on-site betting on dog and horse racing as well as jai alai. Nowadays, most facilities that offer these services also host slots and even poker rooms. Additionally, the Sunshine State houses independent bingo halls and card rooms that provide competitive poker and acts as a casino scout for its residents.
Florida State Flag
Tribal gambling was introduced to Florida with the federal Indian Regulatory Gaming Act of 1988. The local tribes established eight casinos that host legal slots and table games. The Seminole tribe operates seven of these casinos, and the Miccosukee tribe owns the eighth. The Florida Lottery has a monopoly on lottery games. Charitable gambling is allowed.
Florida Gambling Law Summary
According to Section 848 of the Florida code, taking part in unlicensed land-based gambling is a second-degree misdemeanor. However, the state does allow home games and doesn’t have any regulations that could be directly applied to online play. Consequently, Florida-based gambling enthusiasts are pretty much free to play on offshore sites, especially since the local authorities aren’t interested in finding a potential loophole that could allow them to prosecute individual players.
Gambling within the borders of the Sunshine State is covered by Florida Statutes 849.01 et seq. and 550.001 et seq. The minimum gambling age is 21 for casino games and 18 for lottery games, horse racing, dog racing, bingo, jai alai, and poker, which are all hosted on real money casino USA.
Gambling Petitions Fall Short
The endless push for more gambling looked on the verge of folding but casino boosters are still game for playing out one more hand in the courts. Some residents were in a push to put two different campaigns to get expanded gambling onto the ballot in 2024.
Every year the Florida Legislature makes getting an amendment on the ballot by petition harder to accomplish but gaming interests have been undeterred. Although well-funded, both campaigns failed to get enough signatures in by the Feb. 1 deadline.
A legalized sports-betting constitutional amendment pushed by DraftKings and FanDuel tried mightily but got only a little more than halfway toward the 891,589-signature goal. The effort called itself Florida Education Champions because revenues would be pledged for education.
“Supervisors of elections around the state have not fulfilled their duty to promptly verify signatures as they were submitted, and instead permitted a backlog of signatures to amass,” the complaint complains.
The other gambling amendment petition was aimed at setting up a casino in North Florida, probably Jacksonville. Florida Voters in Charge was heavily bankrolled by Las Vegas Sands Corp. And it managed to collect 757,036 signatures. A lot, but still well short of the goal.
Knowing it would not make it to the finish line, the group filed suit charging that supervisors of elections around the state illegally threw out signatures and slow-walked the signature verification process to its Feb. 1 deadline. The group asked the court to suspend the deadline not only until more signatures could be verified but until voters whose signatures have been rejected could have a chance to bring their signatures into compliance.