Gambling Laws In Florida

There are numerous federal laws in regards to gambling such as the Federal Wire Act and the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) which make it illegal to engage in the business of gambling or facilitating bets, however it is clear that the act of placing a bet is entirely legal. There is much legal room left for individual states to expound upon federal laws and form their own unique gambling legislation. Florida is one such state which hosts many of its own regulations across a wide range of forms of gambling. Knowing what and how the state of Florida expands upon federal legislation is essential to navigating the Sunshine State's wide array of gaming options as the information on this page is meant to inform Florida residents on how to understand the law and safely and lawfully gamble without fear of prosecution.

Legality of Gambling in Florida - Is It Legal?

The State of Florida defines the act of gambling as "Playing or engaging in any card game of chance, at any place, by any device, for money or another thing of value." which leaves little room for creative interpretation. This activity is deemed illegal in the state of Florida and punishable of a fine and or up to 60 days in jail.

What is perhaps most important for Florida residents to understand is that with these laws, there have been no prosecutions in regards to individuals gambling in the state. Arrests that are made are reserved for illegal bookmakers operating underground betting rings which involve millions of dollars where those responsible are dealt with swiftly. There are no reports of average residents being arrested or charged for gambling misdemeanors in such rings.

Florida residents should note that the difference between facilitating bets and simply placing one is vast. While illegally gambling is a misdemeanor, facilitating bets either in person or on the web is a federal crime which can reap years spent in prison. Operating as a bookmaker in Florida is a class 3 felony but those who are placing bets are not violating those laws and are largely left alone.

Sports betting is not allowed under Florida state laws which clearly state that "stakes, bets or wagers any money or other thing of value upon the result of any trial or contest of skill, speed or power or endurance of human or beast" is also a second degree misdemeanor. There are however a variety of legal forms of gambling in the Sunshine State as Florida allows certain types of sanctioned and licensed facilities such as card rooms and racetracks. Pari-mutuel betting such as greyhound tracks and Jai-Alai are permitted, provided an establishment has a permit to operate. Although there are no state sanctioned casinos, there are quite a number of Native-American tribal casinos throughout the state which are federally exempt from state laws due to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

The State also allows certain exceptions in the realm of poker for the average player at home. Penny-ante games with winnings not exceeding $10 are permitted and can apply to other card games as well if conducted by adults in a dwelling. Poker remains a popular game in the state with relaxed laws and no instances of investigation or prosecution.

In summary, Florida residents can discreetly wager at Florida gambling sites without fear of law so long as they do not create a gambling ring of some sort to draw the ire of authorities.

Land-Based Gambling In Florida

If Florida residents are eager to enjoy casino action, there are a number of legal tribal casinos in the state. Perhaps the most prevalent of which are the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casinos located in Tampa and Hollywood. Multiple slot machines, blackjack and poker are all present making these casinos legitimate Vegas styled establishments which generate billions of dollars in revenue.

Although sports betting is still unavailable in the Seminole tribal casinos, poker is a massive attraction with it being at an all-time high of popularity through high stakes televised poker tournaments. Also available to residents are the state sanctioned and licensed card rooms, racetracks and Jai-Alai frontons. Florida has 12 of the nation's 22 greyhound tracks and easily the largest assortment of Jai-Alai in the country with the Miami Jai-Alai Fronton being the largest in the world.

Online Gambling In Florida

There is plenty of legislation written in regards to gambling in Florida but anything involving online gambling remains to be unsaid. There are no laws in the state of Florida for the regulation of online gambling and there are no records of investigation or prosecution of those who live there and bothered to wager money online. Since there is nothing to go off of from the state law level, we must look back to what we know of federal laws regarding online gambling. Those laws are clear. One may not engage in the business of gambling nor facilitate bets. Nowhere is it written that one is not allowed to place a bet. The problem then lies within finding a place to do so legally which is quite easy with the vast expanses of the internet.

Any online casino, poker room or sportsbook which is based outside of the United States is perfectly able to operate outside of U.S. laws and regulations while U.S. citizens and Florida residents alike are able to visit such sites. There are a number of safe and reputable sites already patronized by many American users which have been in business for decades with secure transactions and big winnings. These online gambling sites are located throughout Canada, the United Kingdom and Europe and despite being outside of Florida, actually center their services on the satisfaction of U.S. bettors.

Popular Gambling Options In Florida:

Online Sportsbooks - Online Casinos - Online Poker


Bovada - Best All-Around Legal Gambling Site For Florida

One of many online gambling sites stands out above the rest in This particular site hosts an online casino, poker room and sportsbook, facilitating a wide range of betting options on multiple forms of slot machines, poker variations and major American and international sports. Bovada is located nearby in neighboring Canada with a long history of positive reviews for reliable payouts and top-notch customer service as well as used by many major American publications for sports odds and spread lines. Signing up is available for all Florida residents of legal gambling age and wagers can be placed within minutes.

In addition, Bovada members are privy to one of the best refer-a-friend programs out there. For every new member a current Bovada member helps to recruit, they will receive a cool $100 in cash in their account that can be withdrawn at any time.


Legal Florida Gambling Sites

Best Overall Betting Sites Sports? Casino? Poker? Horses?
BetOnline YES! YES! YES! YES!
SportsBetting YES! YES! YES! YES!

What Is The Legal Age To Gamble In Florida?

The legal gambling age in the state of Florida is 18 years old although be sure to check with each online gambling site upon signing up as some will have their own age restrictions. Most will be 18+ and all will be accepting of Florida residents.