Florida Betting Laws + Gambling Statutes

In an effort to drive up tourism to the state, the Florida legislation’s policy towards gambling has changed a lot over the past several years, making it all the more important to stay up to date and abreast on the Florida gambling laws when it comes to its residents’ rights whenever gaming is concerned.

All gambling in the United States is regulated by Federal Law. These laws, such as the Federal Wire Act and the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act essentially state that while a US citizen cannot be punished by the Federal Court for the mere act of gambling or placing bets, anyone who hosts a gambling game or keeps a sportsbook with the intent of taking bets without the written permission of their home state can be punished.

According to these laws, it’s impossible to get in legal trouble for merely participating in gambling, however, most states add their own legislation to complicate matters even further. While it’s true that there are ways to gamble legally in Florida, in may take a little thought and some education to do so in a legal manner.

The purpose of this website is to help Florida residents navigate the often misunderstood legal terrain of gambling, and perhaps to help them enjoy a new hobby in a way that is both compliant with the law and completely safe.

Is Gambling Legal In Florida...Can I Get In Trouble?

Unlike federal law which, in every case regarding gambling, specifically exempts the otherwise honest participant and only goes after the host, Florida law chapter 849.08 takes the time to specifically define gambling as engaging “in any game at cards, Keno, Roulette, Faro or other game of chance.”

This obviously rules out most popular casino games specifically by name, and also anything that may be regarded as betting on “chance,” which also includes betting on sports. However, more recent amendments to the law in the interest of boosting tourism have exempt games of “skill.” This means that it’s possible for Florida to host legal games of poker or dominos and state licensed poker rooms.

If a Florida resident is found guilty of “gambling,” it is a second degree misdemeanor which carries a relatively small legal fine and a maximum imprisonment of up to 60 days. While this law is technically in the books, it’s important to note that no otherwise honest Florida resident has ever been brought up on charges of “gambling.” What one needs to be sure to avoid is “bookmaking,” which carries a felony charge and a long, sad history of arrests in the state of Florida.

The Difference Between Gambling & Bookmaking

Just as with federal law, Florida gambling laws draw a stark comparison between one who is a mere participant in gaming or betting and one who sets them up. Florida law defines “bookmaking” in chapter 849.25 as the action of setting up bets on contests of skill or games of chance for profit. If one is found guilty of bookmaking, it carries a steep penalty of a class three felony which results in jail time for up to one year.

In order to avoid these charges, Florida residents should be careful to avoid situations in which they may receive profits off of gambling without wagering themselves. This can mean operating a sportsbook in which the odds are designed in such a way to bring in profit, operating a gambling game as the “house,” or setting up a private poker game in which admission is charged solely for the privilege to play, or any sort of “rake” (a percentage of each pot collected as profit.)

As long as a Florida residents can avoid these specific trappings, they will be able to avoid being brought up on “bookmaking” charges, and in al reality, and gambling related charges at all.

Gambling Laws In FL: What They Say & What They Mean

Florida Sports Betting Laws

According to Florida Law chapter 849.14, it is unlawful to bet on any trial or contest of skill, effectively outlawing sports betting from the state of Florida. However, just as with gambling charges, it’s important to note that the only real targets of these laws are bookmakers. In fact, even in a case as recent as February of 2015, one of the biggest sports betting rings in Broward County history was broken up, but none of the mere bettors were brought up on charges. It was only the bookmakers and managers of the sportsbook who faced any legal penalties.

FL Sports Gambling Laws
Is Sports Betting Legal?
Florida Sportsbooks
Florida Casino Gaming Laws

Florida currently has no casinos outside of Federally Authorized Native American reservations and has strict legislation in place to forbid them. However, a long, ongoing struggle to bring legal slot machines to Florida in an effort to boost tourism is currently playing out within state legislation. Although casino games have yet to receive any sort of state license, many legal experts believe that it is only a matter of time before this legislation is overturned in favor of making Florida and even more popular destination for tourists. Stay tuned for more information as the situation develops.

FL Casino Gambling Laws
Are Casino Games Legal?
Florida Casinos
Florida Poker Laws

Florida Law has actually exempt “games of skill,” which includes poker, from its legislation. In order for the activity to be completely legal, it must take place within a state licensed poker room, and it cannot be a “banking game.” Chapter 849.086 section (b) defines a banking game as any game in which the house is a participant and plays against other players. In order for a poker room to be legal, every player must have an even chance of winning the game, excepting conditions of luck or skill level.

FL Poker Laws
Is It Legal To Play Poker?
Florida Poker Rooms

Florida Legal Gambling Age: How Old To Bet In Florida?

Unlike some states where residents must wait until 21 to legally gamble in any fashion, in Florida, they generally must only wait until 18, however most Indian casinos do state players need to be 21 to play their games. This is fortunate, because the issue of legal gambling is complicated enough already without needing to add any further complications to the situation.

It is highly advisable any one reading this abide by Florida gambling laws in waiting until they are of legal age to gamble in order to avoid any unwanted legal trouble to their situation, including steep fines for both the underage gambler and the facilitator of the act. In addition, those caught engaging in underage gambing are very likely have all their funds associated with gambling, including their winnings, forfeit.

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Where To Legally Gamble in Florida

On-Land: If one wishes to legally gamble in the Sunshine State, there are plenty of options so long as they want to play poker. Florida is home to many legal poker rooms, and if someone living in Florida wants to play a game of poker, they are probably no more than a two to three hour drive away from a state licensed facility. Tournament entry fees within the state range from low stakes games at $5 all the way to $250. Some of these tournaments lead to big guaranteed money, provided you can make it out to the poker room at the set time the tournament is to begin.

While there are scant few options for casino games in the state as it is, stay tuned. Even though low payout slot machines are available in some casinos within Seminole reservations, advocates for legalized gambling are currently fighting with Florida legislation every day. Still, this may be a long day away, and the locations would almost definitely be sparse unless a resident lives close to a tourism hub.

Online/Web-Based: Thankfully for Florida residents who wish to gamble in as safe and convenient a manner as humanly possible, there are online gambling networks. While it’s true that in order to be considered legal these gambling sites must be based overseas, they work incredibly hard to deliver a quality product and five-star service to all US citizens and residents of Florida.

However, we heartily recommend that anyone living in the Sunshine State do some homework before signing up with any gambling site. While many operate legally as legitimate businesses and have been doing so for years, there are many imitators out there who at best operate with low standards of quality and service and at worst, are little more than scams. All the legal gambling sites for Florida residents mentioned on this page have been thoroughly researched and come endorsed no only by us, but a huge list of satisfied customers and major media networks like the USA Today and CBS Sports.

Every site listed on this page provides a safe means of delivering any gambling service you could ever want right into your very own home, or even on your mobile device, and, perhaps more importantly, offers up at least a decade’s worth of history of paying out its users effectively and in a timely manner.

Is Online Gambling Legal In Florida?

If a Florida resident has been reading along with this article, they may have found themselves stuck in a bit of a paradox. Although the act of gambling does not carry a heavy punishment and is not prosecuted, it is dangerous for one to set up a gambling operation outside of a state licensed poker room. How then are Florida residents able to gamble safely from legitimate businesses?

The answer, like so many things, can be found on the internet. Like most states, Florida gambling laws have no specific legislation regarding online gambling so it will not be prosecuted any differently than land based gambling rings. Since honest Florida residents who merely like to gamble run no real risk of prosecution, there is no real risk for a Florida residents who uses online networks to gamble on poker, games of chance, or even to bet on sports.

While many online gambling sites are forced to operate outside of federal jurisdiction and any laws that may govern gaming in their users' home states, there are still plenty of legitimate and reputable operators that Florida residents can depend on no matter which type of gambling they prefer; look below to see the best the web has to offer...you surely will not be disappointed!

Florida Gaming Sites: Sportsbooks, Poker, Casino + More...

From Panhandle To The Keys, Florida Players Welcome!

For most residents of Florida looking for any type of service, only the best will do. When looking for an online gambling network, potential gamblers must take into account what they want most. Are they most interested in a high functioning online casino providing odds just as good as or better than their land based counterparts at providing high payouts? Perhaps a poker room with tons of guaranteed money where they can square off against big competition or just play a couple hands for fun is more up their alley, or maybe they simply want access to one of the most complete sports gambling sites in the world, boasting more game lines and propositions than any betting sites for Florida players in the world.

Luckily, Sunshine State residents don’t have to choose between any of these, they can have them all by signing up with this top notch gambling site. Bovada knows they have a wonderful product to offer, and the best part is that they are not afraid to provide incentive for using it. The sign-up bonuses for Bovada are unparalleled, offering 50% of the initial deposit back in the sportsbook, as high as 100% for poker, and even as much as $3,000 in cash bonuses. Florida residents may search far and wide, but they will find themselves being hard-pressed to find a better deal out there than what is available at Bovada's gambling site.

List of Florida Betting Sites For All Types Of Gaming

User Rating Average
Accepts Bitcoin!
RTG & Betsoft Games
$150K Poker Tourney
User Rating Average
Live Dealer Casino
Lifetime Bonuses
Skill Based Games
User Rating Average
Smartphone Friendly
Weekly Poker Promos
In-Game Live Betting
User Rating Average
18+ Years Accepted
Friendly Wager Rules
High Betting Limits

Learning More: What To Do If You Need Additional Help

We here at FloridaGamblingLaws.com are not lawyers, nor are we certified professionals in any way, and the info presented here should not be considered as official legal council. However, we are concerned citizens who are passionate about gambling and therefore we have plenty of useful information to share about Florida gambling laws. In fact, much of the staff is located in Florida and all are very familiar with the gambling laws in Florida due to their personal relevance. When armed with knowledge of the official Florida statutes, and our expertise, there should be little standing in your way regardless of the type of gambling you wish to pursue.