The Sunshine State Gambling Laws & Potential Online Casino Legislation
By Space Coast Daily // May 12, 2020
In 1988, Florida introduced tribal gambling legislation with the Federal Indian Regulatory Gaming Act. Native American tribes established eight land-based casinos, featuring table games, slot machine games, and other games.
Seven of the casinos are run by the Seminole tribe and the other casino is managed by the Miccosukee tribe.
All lottery games fall under the jurisdiction of the Florida lottery, but there are currently no pending bills for the passage of online gambling legislation.
According to official data from the State of Florida (January 24, 2019), proceeds from the Indian gaming activity realized $345.3 million in 2019/2020, up $325.9 million in 2018/2019.
For illustrative purposes, the amount wagered on slot machine games in 2009/2010 was $3.840 billion, and the amount won by patrons was $3.538 billion. In 2010, the Florida tax rate was reduced from 50% to 35%, increasing the take-home pay by operators.
In 2017/2018, the state revenues from slot machine taxes amounted to $191.9 million, increasing to over $200 million in 2018/2019.
For 2020/2021, Indian gaming is expected to generate net revenues of $304.6 million, up $5 million from 2018/2019.
How does Florida compare to New Jersey?
The Garden State ranks #2 in the country in terms of gambling revenue. Atlantic City – the home of New Jersey gambling – is second only to Las Vegas, Nevada. Industry analysis of New Jersey’s GGR (gross gambling revenue) indicates that the state generated $3.3 billion from land-based casinos in the state, with an estimated $4.58 billion made on sports betting in 2019.
In 2019, NJ’s licensed online casinos generated casino revenue of $482,695,308, up 61.6% from the end of 2018.
While Florida is unlikely to fast-track online gambling legislation in 2020, the state is clearly behind the eight ball when it comes to generating the types of revenues that New Jersey has been reeling in.
At the time of writing, online sports betting, online casino, and online poker are not permitted in the State of Florida.
New Jersey successfully petitioned the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn PASPA of 1992, and several states have already moved swiftly to legalize online sports betting, and other forms of online gambling, but Florida is currently not one of them.
The Miami Herald recently reported a legislative wildcard that may authorize statewide sports betting in Florida, which is broadly perceived as a gateway to broad-spectrum online gambling.
As yet, proponents of legal online gambling are waiting on a bill to be introduced.
• The Current Status of the Online Gambling Scene in Florida
Florida passed gambling laws in 1931, with dog and horse racing, jai alai, poker rooms, bingo, slots, card games, and other activities. Florida generates $300 million p/a from gambling activity.
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