Is Poker legal in Florida (fl)? Online Poker Laws in Florida Explained
- Live Poker is allowed
- Online Poker is forbidden
- Online Casino is forbidden
- Sports Betting is forbidden
Can You Play Online Poker in Florida?
Florida is one of the famous destinations in the United States that currently ranks alongside Nevada, California, and New Jersey when it comes to playing poker. The Sunshine State is a top hotspot as tons of in-person poker rooms offer an incredible gambling experience. But there are no state-licensed online poker operators, as of 2020. It is somewhat shocking to say that the state has not legalized online poker as of yet.
In fact, Florida laws do not mention online gambling at all. There have been many attempts to legalize online poker in Florida. The most notable was in 2012 when the National Council of Legislators encouraged the idea.
But these efforts were short-lived. Lawmakers could not even agree to legalize online lottery ticket sales. However, avid poker Floridians often take advantage of the US states with legal online poker. If you’re planning to play poker online from the US, make sure you flock to the most trusted and licensed brands. It’s worth taking a look at our top legal online poker sites in the United States.
By sticking with legit poker sites, poker fanatics can have a better shot at fair games and secure banking that offer quick money access. Moreover, legal US online poker sites also go out of their way to reward newbies. This can include free money just for creating a new account. We will discuss everything in detail about laws regarding online poker in FL.
Summary of Florida Gambling & Poker Laws
Florida does not regulate online gambling within the state lines. At present, the only form of legal online gambling is horse racing. Although there are tons of casinos and live poker rooms in the state, steps taken toward online gaming failed to yield any outcome yet.
In 2021, Florida lawmakers approved a gambling compact to allow widespread commercial sports betting throughout the state. However, the agreement was short-lived as a federal judge struck it down and ruled it violated the Florida state constitution and Indian Gambling and Regulatory Act.
A ballot initiative launched the same year would have left the question of sports betting up to Florida voters, but supporters failed to gather the necessary signatures by the February 2022 deadline.
Poker is legal only at racinos, a combination of race tracks and casinos, and Seminole-operated land-based casinos all across the state. Pari-mutuel betting on dog racing, horse, and jai alai is permitted. We have reviewed the quick summary of Florida online poker and gambling laws below:
- Online Poker/Gambling - Currently, there exists no regulated gaming or online poker in Florida. The National Council of Legislators tried hard to change laws for online poker in 2012 and beyond. However, lawmakers were not interested in stretching gambling beyond the land-based Indian casinos and racinos. It is unlikely that Florida will legalize online poker in the years to come.
- Live Poker - There are tons of live poker rooms in most of the casinos in Florida. But it is allowed legally at the racinos and the Indian casinos.
- Casinos - Florida allows casino games and as a result one can find tons of world-class brick and mortar casinos. However, card rooms are regulated by the state law and only pari-mutuel style wagering is allowed. Other gambling devices are also prohibited. In addition, gaming laws also limit casinos to Indian reservations.
- Sports Betting - At present, local sportsbooks are illegal in Florida. However, FL gambling laws don’t ban placing bets at licensed offshore sites.
- Fantasy Sports - DraftKings and FanDuel, at present, accept players from Florida legally and permit fantasy sports betting.
- Esports - Esports lovers can play electronic sports only at the offshore gambling platforms.
- Other Gambling Options - Horse, lottery, dog racing, charitable games, pari-mutuel horse betting
History of Poker and Online Poker in Florida
Florida has an impressive history when it comes to poker laws. Since Europeans first settled onto the land of Florida, gambling existed as a part of their culture. Gambling was legalized in the 1900s. Much of its early history says that lawmakers kept banning all new land-based casinos around the state. They also placed certain limits on the amount that a gambler could risk while playing. Seminole lands and tribal management also played a big role in keeping the casinos limited.
In early 2011, Joseph Abruzzo introduced an online poker bill - HB 77. It is made to regulate intrastate real cash poker sites online throughout the state. At the time, people were enjoying legal Internet poker.
After introducing UIGEA in 2006, operating a FL real money poker site or online poker room was against federal law. His main aim was to pass this bill by March 2011. But again, it failed to accomplish its legalization of online poker in Florida.
Abruzzo tried again to get the Internet gambling and poker betting bill through in 2012. But due to the rejection from the Seminole tribe, efforts to legalize online gambling failed. During that time, Florida started Internet café gambling. This allowed avid players to go online and access real cash poker sites in public places.
Online Poker in Florida
Before picking any online poker room in Florida, it is essential to understand the legality of online gambling and Florida online poker rooms. Many believe that it is illegal for Florida poker players to play Internet poker. But no law technically addresses online poker.
However, there aresome laws that loosely touch on the idea of online gambling. The primary one is the gambling definition itself -
The inclusion of card games could apply to card games played online too.
Despite this, many residents still turn to online gambling. But as far as we know, no player has ever been prosecuted for playing online poker in FL.
Is Online Poker Legal in Florida?
“Is playing poker online legal in Florida?” is the common question in the mind of enthusiastic players. The state has plenty of poker rooms, but Florida has not legalized online poker yet.
Yes, the state is still struggling to get real money poker online and real money online casino games permitted. There may be some movement in recent years to give gamblers positive hope.
The state laws against gambling have never been enforced against online poker games, specifically. Moreover, no federal laws ban any person from playing online poker at a poker site.
Earlier, The Wire Act was enforced for online gambling operators. But after the revaluation of the Wire Act laws in 2011, it exempted poker, lotteries, and other gambling forms. It means this act just applies to sports betting today. Till Florida becomes a fully legal state, playing free online poker at real money websites remains a great option for poker lovers.
Where Can I Play Online Poker Legal in Florida?
Florida doesn’t permit operating online casinos. At the same time, the state doesn’t restrict bettors to play at an online casino. As such, Floridians looking for playing online poker in Florida legally can explore venues that accept deposits from customers from Florida.
To play poker games via online poker platforms one can easily find tons of sites that have opened their doors to poker fanatics living anywhere within Florida. Users can enter any live poker room they want. For players looking for real money poker sites, one can check out operators from states that have legalized online poker. You can findreal money poker sites legally in four current legalized states - New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
Ensure that you check the background information of the Internet poker platform before participating in any poker activity. Legal poker operators offer fully enjoyable poker playing sessions. Don't forget to claim your mega-sized online welcome poker bonuses.
Where Does Florida Offer Legal Online Gambling?
Residents from Florida have access to the tons of land-based gambling already. But when it comes to legal online gambling in Florida, there are limited options available today. Florida doesn’t offer state-sanctioned online gambling options.
However, since the state law doesn’t outlaw or regulate online casinos and real money bets, Floridians can play online poker and gamble with offshore casino and sports betting sites. Players can access online sites that accept US-based customers and also note Florida as a safe state.
Today, many top-rated off-shore online gambling sites permit bettors to bet on their favorite games online legally. They can also play free games on their mobile at any time and using any device. We suggest downloading ourbest mobile poker apps for 2020.
Will Florida Regulate Online Poker?
Florida has introduced a new gaming bill, SBP7082. This bill tries to make changes in the way gaming is regulated in the state. For example, it relaxes standards to run live poker rooms in Florida. But it doesn't address the problem of regulating online gambling. No momentum at present suggests that online poker will be regulated within the state. Moreover, the complicated gambling laws mean that regulated and completely legalized online poker in Florida is a long way off.
Currently, online poker in Florida is not legal. As per Section 849.08, unregulated gambling in Florida is illegal and considered a second-degree misdemeanor. Current Florida law describes illegal gambling as:
“Any person that plays or engages in any gambling activity like roulette, cards, keno, faro, or other games of chance, at any place and using any device shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.”
There have been many discussions going on for a few years now regarding regulations for Florida online poker. These discussions are continuing even today. Therefore, we can say that an online poker bill may be introduced in the coming years, but nothing is imminent. There may be opposition from land-based gambling operators who may fear that online poker in Florida or online gambling may mint money.
But that will not be a problem. With more than 21 million population, Florida is the third most populous state in the USA. Many Floridians also love online gambling, mainly online poker. Thus, the market will be a big hit there if the state regulates online poker.
Sports Betting Laws in Florida
In May 2021, Florida lawmakers approved a gambling compact to allow gamblers in the state to place bets online, which would then be processed through computer servers on the property of the Seminole Tribe, which operates Las Vegas-style casinos in the state.
According to the Miami Herald, the “hub-and-spoke” agreement stated that bets made anywhere in Florida “using a mobile app or other electronic device shall be deemed exclusively conducted by the tribe,” thus making them legal.
However, a U.S. District Judge overturned the agreement a few months later in November 2021, arguing that it violated both the Florida state constitution and Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the latter of which has been interpreted by courts to apply exclusively to in-person bets.
The Seminole Tribe asked the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to block the ruling, but the court rejected the tribe’s request in December. The U.S. Department of Interior, which oversees tribal gambling, is in the process of appealing the ruling.
Also in 2021, the Florida Education Champions political committee formed and sponsored a ballot initiative that would authorize sports and event betting under Florida law “via online sports betting platforms by entities authorized to conduct online sports betting” and required “legislative action to regulate sports betting.”
Additionally, the ballot proposal would require taxes from betting revenues to be used to “supplement public education.” Specifically, taxes from betting revenues would go into the state’s Educational Enhancement Trust Fund, which already receives funds from the Florida Lottery.
The sports betting initiative was backed by top sports betting companies like DraftKings and FanDuel, which both poured millions into the campaign.
However, Florida Education Champions failed to get the required 891,589 signatures ahead of the deadline, leaving the initiative at a loss until the 2024 election.
Florida's two United States Senators are Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, a former presidential candidate whose term ends in 2022, and Republican Sen. Rick Scott, whose term ends in 2024.
US Poker Laws 2020 - Florida FAQ
Can I Play Online Poker in Florida?
Currently, no. Online poker has not been legalized in the state of Florida as of yet.
What is the Minimum Age for Gambling in Florida?
Floridians can start gambling at land-based casinos as they turn 18. The only exception includes table games and slot games. For this, a gambler must be a minimum of 21 years of age.
Can I Play on PokerStars in Florida for Free?
Yes. Plenty of things had changed since April 15, 2011, when US officials enforced the UIGEA Act of 2006. They put online poker in the US in lockdown.
Since then, many states have released gambling rules that allow operators (including PokerStars) to provide poker games online to US players. Today, you can play poker games on PokerStars from the United States if you are in the right state and download the right client.
But, if you want to play poker games for free, you can freely use the PokerStars Play free platform. But players can't access the real money games if you are residing within the state's borders.
What Happens if I Use a VPN to Play Online in Another State?
The use of VPNs to play on regulated international platforms is not a good idea. It is because it can expose tons of legal problems. The money you make a deposit or withdrawal will result in many issues coming your way.
Moreover, the operator can prohibit all your profits and shut down your account if they found you gambling illegally. Users may also face banking problems regarding using these websites from an unregulated jurisdiction.
What Happens if I Play on an Illegal Poker Site?
Playing at an unregulated offshore website is completely illegal in Florida. These sites also don’t face the same regulations and laws as those in legal jurisdictions. When players use them, security is always a big issue.
Plenty of players have struggled while withdrawing and recovering funds. Players also face legal repercussions. That is why it’s best to choose a licensed, legal, and regulated real-money sites. It is because they regularly monitor gambling activities and ban any fraudulent Florida online poker activity.
A former professional poker player with a background in sports marketing and journalism. Yori has been a part of PokerNews since 2016 and manages the content team.