Casino Laws: How Florida Differs To Other States

The United States gambling industry is huge and is continuing to grow. Market revenue has now reached $79.42 billion US dollars, which includes online gambling, bricks and mortar casino establishments, betting and tribal gaming.

However the gambling market size is not equal in every state in the country, with certain locations such as Las Vegas, Nevada, standing out as central to the US gambling scene. There are over 19 million visitors to Las Vegas each year and 14% of American citizens have visited the city with the purpose of enjoying its casinos, while in comparison some states have no legal gambling activity at all.

The reason for such a significant disparity in the popularity of gambling between states is that each state is able to regulate or prohibit gambling activity within their boundary. While gambling is technically allowed under US federal law, states such as Hawaii and Utah forbid all activity, while most others restrict certain types of gambling and have their own regulations for it.

Florida’s Gambling Laws

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The state of Florida has gambling laws that differ quite a lot from the majority of other states. In Florida, regulations generally only allow casino activity within Indian reservations and do permit some types of betting, such as betting on horse racing or greyhound racing in certain circumstances.

Tribal gaming that complies with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act is allowed and card rooms that are Pari-mutuel-style and not casino-style can operate. In addition, Penny-ante games such as poker are permitted but only if the total winnings do not exceed $10 dollars.

When it comes to online gambling activity, including casino games and sports betting, this is when the law gets a lot less straightforward. Florida’s gambling regulations do not explicitly mention individuals partaking in these activities on the internet.

Due to the non-specificity of the law, citizens within Florida are free to play on offshore online casinos and bet on sports through offshore websites.

Many people find their laws confusing and are unsure what is legal and what isn’t. Some have attempted to find loopholes and ways around current legislations, such as gambling on boats or cruise ships that are off the coast and technically in international waters.

Recently there have been discussions within the state over the possible legalization of more sports betting activities. Lawmakers opened the Florida State Legislature with sports wagering as one of the topics of the docket.

Nevertheless, the impact that this amendment to regulations would have on tribal gambling operators. They have enjoyed exclusivity since the late 1990s and would likely lose revenue if a deal was to go through.

So, how do other states in the US differ from Florida in terms of gambling legislation?

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In various states such as Michigan and New Jersey there are more types of gambling that are legally permitted. For example, horse racing, online sports betting and some other types of gambling that are considered to be minor, such as bingo or recreational card games are allowed.

Citizens in Michigan can find trusted gambling websites and more specific information of the types of gambling permitted online through affiliate sites such as who rate and rank the top casino sites available in Michigan.

There are a number of states that permit online gambling and this list is continuing to grow as lawmakers see the benefits of legalizing and regulating it. New Jersey was the first state to pass a law that legalized forms of online gambling in 2010.

The states currently on this list include California, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Rhode Island. Each of these states have gambling regulations in place with arrangements for taxation and licencing.

On the other hand, Utah has taken a much harder stance on all forms of gambling. Unlike Florida, the state does not even permit tribal gambling or charitable gambling related events.

This is said to be linked to the high population of Mormon citizens in the state, as certain activities such as gambling or the consumption of alcohol are against the values of this faith.

Will gambling ever be fully legalized in Florida?

The question that many citizens in Florida have is around whether Florida will ever follow in the footsteps of states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania in regards to fully legalizing gambling.

As has been seen with other states, making any changes to gambling legislation is an extremely slow process. There will always be those who want more progressive rules and others who prefer to take a prohibition stance.

It appears Florida is taking some small steps to join some of the more progressive states, firstly through legalizing sports wagering on professional games and players. However, this has not been the first attempt at legalizing sports betting in the state, a bill that was negotiated in 2019 failed to make it into state law due to the amount of opposition it faced.

Talks are now back on the table with a proposed 2021 bill. Could this be the first move towards the legalization of more forms of gambling such as casinos and card games? We will have to wait and see.

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