The information provided herein does not, and is not intended to, constitute an agency statement or legal advice and may not be relied upon as such. To obtain legal advice for any gaming-related matter, please contact an attorney. You should seek legal advice before acting or refraining from acting based on the information provided in these FAQs.
In Florida, a variety of gambling activities are legal. These include:
Forms of legal gaming are strictly regulated by Florida law. If you have any questions or concerns about gambling activities in which you are engaged, you should contact an attorney for legal advice specific to your circumstances. A map of legal gaming establishments can be found at our Gaming Locations page.
The Florida Gaming Control Commission (“FGCC”) regulates certain legal forms of gambling in the State of Florida and enforces the state’s criminal gambling prohibitions. FGCC’s Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering regulates pari-mutuel racing and games, cardrooms, and slot machine gaming, and oversees the compact between the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. FGCC’s Division of Law Enforcement targets illegal gambling activities occurring throughout the state.
The word “pari-mutuel” is French for “betting among ourselves.”
Under Florida law, “pari-mutuel wagering” is defined as a system of betting on races or games in which the winners divide the total amount bet, after deducting management expenses and taxes, in proportion to the sums they have wagered individually and with regard to the odds assigned to particular outcomes.
The most common type of pari-mutuel wagering is wagering on horse races. In this case, all bets on a particular race are placed into a pool, and the payout is determined by the total amount bet, minus a small percentage that is taken as a commission for the facility. The payout for each winning bettor is determined by dividing the remaining pool among the number of winning bets.
FGCC regulates pari-mutuel wagering to ensure that the betting on races and games is fair and that operators of pari-mutuel wagering facilities are running their businesses in accordance with state law.
More information on pari-mutuel wagering may be found in Chapter 550, Florida Statutes.
In Florida, certain types of organizations, such as charities, nonprofit organizations, veterans’ organizations, fraternal organizations, and retirement communities, may be permitted to offer certain types of gambling activities to their patrons provided certain requirements are met.
Laws and regulations for charitable gambling are complex and are subject to change. Prior to conducting any charitable gambling, you should contact an attorney for legal advice specific to your circumstances.
For more information, you may refer to Chapter 849, Florida Statutes.
No. Opening a new legal gambling business in Florida is generally prohibited by law.
You should contact an attorney for legal advice specific to your circumstances.
No. Gambling cruise vessels cannot offer casino-style games while they are in state waters. A “cruise to nowhere” is a type of cruise where the ship sails out into international waters, beyond the jurisdiction of state law, for the purpose of offering casino style gambling.
The law governing gambling activities on cruise ships is complicated. If you believe illegal activity has occurred, please report it to the FGCC.
Cardrooms at authorized pari-mutuel facilities may offer a variety of cash games, including Texas Hold 'Em, Omaha, Seven-Card Stud, and other variations of poker, including poker games played in a designated player manner.
In addition to traditional cash games, many cardrooms in Florida also offer tournament play, with both daily and weekly tournaments available. Some larger poker rooms may even host major tournament series with large prize pools.
More information on cardrooms may be found in Chapter 849.086, Florida Statutes.
No. A process for individuals or businesses to submit new card games for approval is not contemplated under Florida law.
In general, no. Under Florida law, only pari-mutuel permit holders that held an operating license for the conduct of pari-mutuel wagering for fiscal year 2020-2021 may hold a license to operate a cardroom. Operating a cardroom without an FGCC-issued license is against the law.
If you have additional questions, you should contact an attorney for legal advice specific to your circumstances.
Individuals can legally host, or attend, private recreational poker games or dominoes provided that: (i) players are at least 18 years of age; (ii) no one makes a profit from the running of the game, and (iii) the winnings of any player in a single hand, round, or game do not exceed $10.
However, it is illegal to host a game where the operator takes a percentage of the pot or any other form of commission unless the operator is a licensed cardroom.
For additional information about penny-ante games, please refer to Chapter 849.085, Florida Statutes.
In Florida, slot machines are heavily regulated by FGCC and are legal only in the eight pari-mutuel facilities in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties and at certain Indian tribal facilities.
It is against the law to offer slot machine gaming at any unlicensed facility, including, but not limited to, bars, restaurants, gas stations, and adult arcades.
Yes. Chapter 551, Florida Statutes, requires a slot machine facility licensed by FGCC to maintain a payout percentage of no less than 85 percent. Pursuant to the compact between the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, slot machines at casinos operated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida must have a payout percentage of no less than 85 percent. FGCC employees regularly conduct audits and monitor licensed slot machines to ensure that this percentage is met. Historically, the payout percentage is higher than this lower limit.
Please note that if you play slot machine games at an illegal slot machine business, you may be playing on a machine with a significantly lower payout percentage. Illegal slot machine businesses evade audits and other regulatory safeguards designed to protect patrons, including the payout percentage minimum. Please see the response to Are there risks to playing at an illegal gambling facility? for additional risks and potential consequences for participating in illegal gambling.
For more information, please refer to Chapter 551, Florida Statutes.
Generally, no. Unless you are a pari-mutuel permit holder that held an operating license for the conduct of pari-mutuel wagering for fiscal year 2020-2021 and your business is located in Miami Dade or Broward County, it is against the law to add slot machine gaming to your facility.
Please be advised that there are a number of possible criminal offenses related to the use, possession, or offering of illegal slot machines.
Generally, no. Under Florida law, only pari-mutuel permit holders that held an operating license for the conduct of pari-mutuel wagering for fiscal year 2020-2021 may hold a license to operate slot machine gaming. Operating a slot machine without an FGCC-issued license is against the law. You should contact an attorney for legal advice specific to your circumstances.
Legal gaming facilities in the state include:
Some red flags that may indicate an illegal gambling operation include:
Be aware that it may be against the law for you to participate in unlicensed gambling activities. You should contact an attorney if you have questions regarding your gambling activities.
In addition, you may report suspected unlicensed activity by Filing a Complaint.
Yes, there are many risks associated with playing at an illegal gambling facilities. Here are a few:
It is always safer to choose legal and regulated gambling establishments where you have regulatory protections and where you are not participating in illegal activity.
If you suspect illegal gambling activity please contact local law enforcement and file a complaint to the FGCC so that we can conduct an investigation.
If you suspect that you may have participated in an illegal gambling operation, it's important to contact local law enforcement and file a complaint to the FGCC.
After FGCC receives a complaint, FGCC staff route the complaint to the correct responsive party. At that point, the complaint will be reviewed to determine the applicable course of action. You may not hear back from FGCC after you filed a complaint. This does not mean, however, that the complaint was not received or that it was not addressed.
FGCC has many responsive types of action and is committed to ensuring that complaints are handled appropriately.
In Florida, the penalties imposed for illegal gambling vary based on the specific offense and the circumstances of each case. Chapter 849, Florida Statutes, sets forth the criminal offenses and associated penalties, which range from misdemeanors to felonies that could result in large fees, civil fines, and imprisonment. For more information, please refer to Chapter 849, Florida Statutes. You should contact an attorney for legal advice specific to your circumstances.
If the arcade room is offering illegal slot machines they are violating state law, and putting patrons at risk, while evading regulation. The FGCC has a duty to protect the public and enforce the state’s criminal laws.
Gambling is strictly regulated by Florida Law. There are only two counties in which slot machine gaming is legal and only 8 non-tribal businesses are licensed to offer slot machines in those two counties. The legal framework supporting regulated gaming provides player protections, combats illegal activity, generates state revenue and fosters game integrity. Adult arcades offering illegal slot machines operate in an unregulated market and have no incentive to do any of these things.
Playing at an illegal arcade may seem like a victimless act but in reality these businesses are often associated with organized crime, money laundering, fraud, drugs, prostitution, and pose a general risk to the players and communities in which they exist. These businesses do not get licensed by the FGCC, have no oversight to ensure game integrity or player protection, and do not pay any state tax on their gross gaming revenue.
If you know of any illegal slot machine facilities please file a complaint with to FGCC.
Generally, no. Unless you are placing a wager through sportsbooks operated by or in conjunction with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, you are most likely placing an illegal wager.
Again, probably not. Unless you are placing a wager through sportsbooks operated by or in conjunction with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, you are most likely placing an illegal wager.
Many online sportsbooks operate in multiple jurisdictions. Many will be accessible to Florida residents. They may even be licensed by other states. But that does not matter in Florida. In this state, unless you are placing a wager through sportsbooks operated by or in conjunction with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, you are most likely placing an illegal wager.