Florida Gambling News Updates

By  //  June 4, 2020

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Florida’s history with gambling regulation is a colorful one dating back to 1931 and the legalization of betting on dog and horse racing.

Florida’s history with gambling regulation is a colorful one dating back to 1931 and the legalization of betting on dog and horse racing.

The Florida Constitution is the backbone of gambling regulation in the state and various sections in Chapter 849, ban all forms of state casino gambling.

However, due to the Federal Indian Regulatory Gaming Act of 1988, eight Native American tribes have established land-based casinos, seven of which are run by the Seminole tribe and one by the Miccosukee tribe.

The only reason these casinos exist is that they are on land that’s not subject to Florida state law. This has allowed the Seminole tribe to have a monopoly on casino gambling in the Sunshine State and net about $2.5bn annually.

Other legal forms of gambling are lottery games under the jurisdiction of the Florida lottery and house-based gambling for charitable causes. The legal age for land-based casino gambling is 21, and players need to be 18 years of age or above to bet on bingo, lotteries, horse racing, and poker.

Under Section 848 of the Florida code, taking part in unlicensed land-based gambling is classified as a second-degree misdemeanor.

Updates on Florida Gambling Law

There’s no doubt that the Seminole tribe has a stranglehold on gambling in Florida. Even though other venues offer horse racing, the native tribe controls the bulk of the gambling business. To put things in perspective, non-tribal gaming pulls in numbers that are one-fifth of the revenues generated from Native-American gaming.

The tribe holds exclusive rights to any form of gambling from slots, blackjack, roulette, or any other casino games and little is likely to change soon.

Furthermore, when the state refused to crack down on card games at other venues, a federal judge ruled that it broke the 2010 agreement negotiated by former Gov. Rick Scott, and the Seminole tribe stopped sharing the agreed-upon sum of $350 million per year. This left a pretty big hole in the state’s budget.

Talks have been ongoing between the government and the tribe, for the tribe to continue the revenue sharing despite the issue not being resolved.

Many think this may be a way forward, forcing the government to look into other alternatives like the legalization of online casinos, allowing residents to play USA real money slots at Florida-based digital platforms.

Recent Gambling Bills

In May of 2018, The US Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting. This allowed states to legalize the activity if they see fit. Many immediately jumped at the opportunity but one state that has yet to cash its chips in is Florida.

This again is mainly due to the Seminole Tribe. They do not have the infrastructure or capabilities to offer sportsbooks and if sports betting becomes legal, they will start to lose their monopoly on gambling in the state.

Florida has always had an anti-gambling disposition, but despite this, in November of 2019, it introduced Senate Bill 968 in a recent attempt to make sports betting legal. Due to a voter-approved ballot in 2018 – Amendment 3, if this bill does pass, it will still have to face a statewide vote before it can become law.

The earliest chance for a public vote is in November of 2020. However, this delay leaves the state behind by another six months while its mobile sports gambling revenue outflows to neighboring states.

If you’re wondering – will Online Casinos be allowed in the future? The answer is that it’s unlikely that this will soon come to fruition.

Much of this is due to former Governor Rick Scott, an anti-gambling politician who was backed by Billionaire Sheldon Adelson, another big opponent of internet gambling. But nothing is stopping Florida residents from playing online casino games on foreign sites if they choose to do so.