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Florida Legal Poker

Last Update: April 4, 2015

Online Poker

There is no law currently on the Florida books that either expressly permits or prohibits internet poker in the state.

The first bill seeking to legalize and regulate online poker was Florida HB 77, introduced in the 2011 session by State Rep. Joseph Abruzzo. A companion bill was also introduced in the Senate, but the House bill died in committee a few months later, stalling Abruzzo’s effort.

As of early 2013, no internet poker bill had been introduced in Florida since 2011. There was some media speculation of a forthcoming bill in 2012, but concerns about the proliferation of Internet cafes and the consequences that legalized online poker could have for problem gaming scuttled any potential bills.

In 2014 Governor Rick Scott came out against online gambling, echoing Sheldon Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling’s talking points. There is unlikely to be any movement on online gambling in the state while Governor Scott remains in office.

Live Poker

Live poker was recently expanded in Florida. It had been permitted since 2001 at licensed pari-mutuel facilities (i.e. horse and dog tracks and jai alai frontons), but with severe limits on the stakes and amounts for which players could buy in.

In 2010 the state legislature expanded the types of permissible games and uncapped the stakes. As amended, Section 849.086 of the Florida Statutes is the Florida law that governs the operations of card rooms in the state. The games and operations are subject to regulation under Chapter 61D-11 of the Florida Administrative Code. All games are regulated by the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

In total, 25 Florida pari-mutuel facilities have card rooms. Florida also has a handful of tribal casinos that fall under the purview of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Some of these casinos, such as the Seminole Hard Rock in Tampa, have significant poker operations. These poker rooms were previously subject to the same limitations as the pari-mutuel facilities but now offer expanded poker options.

A home game is also permitted under Federal law (§849.085), so long as it occurs in someone’s home, no one is charged admission, no one profits from the game other than from winnings, everyone is at least 18 years old and the winnings in any hand do not exceed $10. As with other states, however, this statute is almost never enforced.

Legal Poker By State