Log in

Where Does Florida Stand in the Legality of Gambling?


Legally gambling in Florida is allowed if you play at land-based casinos, race dogs or horses on-site, attend card rooms where you can play poker, independent bingo halls and if you play jai alai.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is responsible for, amongst other things, the economic security that gambling brings to the state. Towards the end of last year, a gambling agreement was reached with the Florida Legislature and the Seminole Tribe to legalize online sports betting. All online gambling is to be managed completely by the tribe, but there are still a few hurdles to overcome. 

The Department of Interior in the U.S. still has to decide if it’s in line with the Indian gambling law, as well as going before voters in line with a constitutional alteration that was passed in 2018.

Does Florida allow sports betting?

Technically, yes, but there’s no mobile app available as yet. The Seminole Tribe did launch a Hard Rock Sportsbook app in November but was stopped soon after due to numerous court hearings. The Tribe is currently appealing it. 

So what gambling can be done in Florida?

Social games that aren’t too big, lotteries that are run by the state or Powerball, pari-mutuel gambling, card rooms that have state licenses, horse racing and casinos that are on Native American lands are all permitted.

What is pari-mutuel?

This type of gambling works by firstly pooling together all bets. Then the house will take their share, and the payout odds are finalized and calculated only once all betting has been closed. This method is used in horse racing, some sporting events when competitors can finish in an order that is ranked, and jai alai. 

What is jai alai?

An extremely popular game in Miami in the 1920s, it’s a game that originates from Basque, Spain. 

It’s an adrenalin-filled game that consists of two players in two teams, who each hold baskets, known as cestas, that are long and curled in shape. Each member has to catch a pelota, or hardball, in a smooth motion that allows the ball to travel across the stadium and bounce off the floor and three walls. 

If you keep the ball for too long points are lost, thus the pelotas never stop moving. In fact, some are known to reach speeds as high as 90 mph - this makes the game thrilling to watch but also dangerous to play. 

Wagering on the outcome of this game was a huge thing in Florida, but it slowly lost interest when Native land casinos and other gambling games started becoming legalized. 

Greyhound and horse racing 

Greyhound racing was banned as a sport in 2018 with the passing of a state referendum, so the last greyhound race will take place in March at Daytona

Florida allows harness, thoroughbred and quarter horse racing inter-track and off-track but wagers can only be placed on site. 

Slot machines

Unless you are in the Miami-Dade and Broward regions, and you are at a pari-mutuel facility or a casino on tribal lands, slot machines and playing on them are completely illegal. 


In Florida, cardrooms have to be state-licensed and pari-mutuel. Punters can bet real money on games like dominoes and poker. 

This type of betting is legal because, according to state law, players are not playing against the house but rather each other. 

You will find these private card rooms in tribal casinos and former greyhound racetracks. Some are even based at the stadiums where jai alai is played. There are often poker tournaments that are held where you can win cash prizes. 

What about online casino betting?

Like most other states across America, the laws are constantly changing. At the present moment, online gambling is not allowed in Florida. Any casino table games, such as roulette or keno, (known as games of skill) or any games of chance (such as roulette)  played anywhere within the state on any type of device, are completely illegal at the moment. 

Although this may change, it is important to note that the former Florida Governor, Rick Scott, was supported (politically) by anti-gambling billionaire Sheldon Adelson. Although opposed to online gambling, it’s interesting to note that Adelson owns some huge land-based casinos across the globe. 

Gambling, Florida, Laws, Online Casino Betting, Horseracing, Sports Betting, Jai Alai, Cardrooms, Slot machines, Greyhound racing, Pari-Mutuel, Seminole Tribe


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here