Florida has a wide variety of gaming available. Not many people know it, or would even consider it, but it’s true! You can find nearly any game you like in Florida. AND it is legal.
In this guide, we discuss the gambling scene in Florida – in particular online casinos, land based casinos, gambling laws, State lottery, horse and dog racing and Jai-Alai. After reading this guide, you will be able to bet with confidence in Florida.
Florida Online Gambling
Online gaming is legal in Florida, however, if you are doubtful of legality of playing online within the US (let alone Florida), you can be rest assured that it is the online casino that will be required to pay penalities and fines, not you. Hence you will find that when you move from State to State within the US, access to your online casino portal maybe declined (depending on the State that you are physically in). The online casino is monitoring accessibility according to each States laws.
The State of Florida, similar to many other States in the US, do not mention regulation or prohibition of online gambling. Therefore online gaming is available to residents of Florida. You will find that many of the big name online casinos welcome Florida residents, with great promotion and bonus packages.
Florida ranks as the fourth in the US for playing at offshore online casinos. Wagering an estimated $52.1 million per year, it ranks just above Illinois and behind Texas. The state with the largest wagering for offshore online casino is California at $180 million.
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All around the US, bingo halls are making a return, from the doldrums of being stigmatized as an old grannies game, to now being popular among all age groups. Young and old, but more women than men, bingo is booming in popularity and Florida is joining the trend.
Florida online bingo players ranks only second to California in terms of the number of players. This just goes to show how popular Online Bingo is in Florida. So if you are interested in trying something new, and keen to make new friends through social media channels that give online bingo a go!
Overview of Florida Casinos
Florida differs from other US states in that all the land based casinos are owned and operated by native American organizations. The non land based, i.e. casino cruises, are all privately owned. Along with casino games, you can also find dog races, horse races and Jai-Alai (which I would suspect not many players have even heard of!)
Where to find your favorite games
Unfortunately, not all games can be found at all venues, so you’ll need to pay attention to the following rules:
- Casinos: offer slots and table games, but NOT horse or dog racing. Some have live poker or poker rooms.
- Racinos: offer slots, NO table games, and of course dog and horse racing. Some have live poker or poker rooms.
- Jai-Alai: offers Jai-Alai and some offer live poker or poker rooms.
In examining Florida gambling laws, it’s not exactly clear why the above rules are in place. The native American casinos are governed by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), which paved the way for casinos on tribal land in Florida. However the establishment of privately operated casinos remains prohibited. Casino cruises therefore flourish in this state, because: private owners cannot own and operate a land based casino and it’s easy to set sail for international waters – the jurisdiction of international law applies only 12 miles or further from the Florida shore line.
At times it can be confusing to know where to go to, to find your favorite games. If you go to the wrong venue, fortunately in Florida, there are many other venues that are conveniently located nearby to travel to. So, it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle to find that game that you want to play.
There are eight native American casinos in Florida. And as mentioned in the introduction, there are no other casinos that are non native American owned and/or run.
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tampa
5223 Orient Rd, Tampa
The two largest casinos in Florida are both run by Seminole Hard Rock. The Hard Rock brand is famous for its Rock and Roll themes. Plastered on the walls are pictures of famous rock stars with lots of memorabilia on display.
The Seminole Hard Rock casinos can be found in Tampa and Hollywood, with the Tampa based slightly larger than the Hollywood. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tampa covers 200,000 square feet of gaming. The gaming that they offer includes: 5,000 slot machines, video poker and other gaming machines, 170 table games and 50 poker tables.
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa is one of the biggest and best hotels in Florida. It is so huge, you will easily get lost just roaming the floors. And, just think it was only slightly smaller a few months ago. As an extension, a new 14 floor hotel has been built, that includes an event center, three outdoor pools, a body and massage spa, and 14 restaurants that includes a sushi bar, buffet, salad bar and a variety of other fine dining.
In regards to gaming, you need to check out the poker room. It is state of the art, glamour at the highest and top notch quality. Even if you are not a poker fan visit the poker room to feel the experience. Slot machines are abundant with several aisles and sections. Unfortunately, if you are a non smoker, you may find passing through the slot machine areas extremely smokey.
There are no free alcoholic beverages as part of the comps. All drinks must be paid for. Shops are not cheap and the slot machines have been known to be a bit tight.
Overall you will have a lot of fun and excitement at the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa.
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood
1 Seminole Way, Davie
The Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood is only just that little bit smaller than that in Tampa, and is therefore the second largest casino in Florida. It covers 140,000 square feet of gaming which includes: 2,500 slot machines, video poker and other gaming machines, 140 table games and 40 poker tables.
Going through significant renovations, this casino hotel is going to be awesome once completed. Yes, currently players may be distracted and slightly disrupted with all the construction that is going on. But once completed you will be able to enjoy the expanded ranged of 3,100 slot machines, 193 gaming tables, and 21 new fine dining restaurants, 19 bars and entertainment venues. The new hotel tower will be shaped as a rock n roll guitar – what more could you want! The current pool area will be transformed from a shallow 3 feet to a massive 13.5 acre with various depths for beginner through to divers. A new massage and spa bath facility will also be available for those who just want to chill and relax.
Each month this casino issues approximately $50 million in prizes! There is plenty of parking and the venue is very easy to get to. You will love Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, especially when renovations are completed!
Seminole Casino Brighton
17735 Reservation Rd, Okeechobee
In Okeechobee, Florida you will find the Seminole Casino Brighton which began in 1980. This casino covers 25,000 square feet of gaming which includes 400 slot and gaming machines, 6 poker tables, and bingo.
Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better, and it certainly shows with this little casino. Packing a punch well above it’s weight, the Seminole Casino Brighton is just as fun as big brothers of the Hard Rock. Located at Okeechobee many patrons find is easier to get to than Tampa. There is a wide variety of machines to play, and a nice non smokers area. Sodas are for free, and there is a really cool little cafe/snack bar on premises. Players generally spend approximately 2 to 3 hours playing at this casino. Players take note, that they did not offer craps, but all the other popular table games are available. This casino can get very busy during peak period, so be aware you may find it difficult to find a seat.
Overall, this little casino is fun, fun and fun!
Seminole Casino Immokalee
506 S 1st St, Immokalee
In Immokalee, Florida you will find the Seminole Casino Immoklee. This casino covers 75,000 square feet of gaming which includes 1,300 gaming machines, 6 poker tables and 40 table games.
Not as big as the other casinos in Florida, but still action packed and fun. The smokers and non smoking areas are separate, however, occasionally the smoke can carry across to the the non smokers area which could be annoying to some. The fine dining is very good. On offer is a mixture of Indian, club sandwiches, fish and chips, but take note that the pricing is towards the high side (fish and chips are $19, whilst a sandwich is $20). Also be careful that the menus are limited in the evening as they reduce their selections for customers. Plenty of slot machines with new games available, but have been noted to show the occasional system bug. No poker card room is available, but you will find all the other popular table games, such as blackjack, roulette, baccarat etc. They provide quality live bands for entertainment. Come and enjoy Seminole Casino Immokalee!
Seminole Classic Casino
4150 FL-7, Hollywood
Along with the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel you will also find the Seminole Classic Casino in Hollywood. This casino covers 50,000 square feet of gaming and offers 1,250 gaming machines, 30 table games plus bingo and poker.
It is hard to compete against the Hard Rock especially if you position your casino right opposite it. But the Seminole Classic has probably been able to pull it off. Much smaller, and older than the Hard Rock, it still has a special thing going for it. Lots of prizes to be won during the weeks and months, with player raffles and draws. A large of variety of slots, some players even believe that there is more than Hard Rock! They have poker and bingo nights, and they even offer free alcoholic beverages (and tea and coffee) as long as you are actively playing at the slot machines or tables. Not a clear demarcation of smoking and non smoking areas, hence non smokers take note.
The live entertainment really rocks, more rocking than the Hard Rock. DJ’s are the best, funny and entertaining, as well as live bands. The food is also very good with Flying Cow burgers and mad Chicken Wings.
Check out The Classic, they have it all with the slots, bingo, table games and poker!
Seminole Casino Coconut Creek
5550 NW 40th St, Coconut Creek
In Coconut Creek, Florida you will find the Seminole Casino which covers 100,000 square feet of gaming and offers 2,400 gaming machines, 90 table games, and 30 tables for poker.
This casino is extremely well kept, clean and professional. Unfortunately, alcoholic beverages are not for free and is $5 per beer. Level 2 is dedicated for non smokers, however, there are limited gaming machines and tables so often the serious non smoker players will need to revert to playing in the smokers area which is level 1. Level 1 is huge with a vast array of slots and table games. It can be extremely difficult to find a seat during the peak periods, but this is rare.
The poker room is really nice with a good mix of players. Aisles of slot machines can be found, with a mix of wagering options.
The car park is massive, and therefore if you park far away it can feel quite dangerous. In that regard, security needs to be beefed up to put customers who park far away at ease.
As with many of the casinos in Florida, the food is excellent. There is an Italian and Chinese restaurant to choose from. And the usual bar and grill with buffet, and a steakhouse. A little deli is within the premise to serve hot breakfast or toasted sandwiches. Food is not cheap in this casino, so be prepared to fork out a little bit of extra cash for the dining. Live entertainment that includes bands, and DJ’s is also great quality.
Miccosukee Resort and Gaming Center
500 SW 177th Ave, Miami
In Miami, Florida you will find the Miccosukee Resort and Gaming Center. This casino covers 65,000 square feet of gaming and offers 2,000 machines and 30 table games including poker.
This casino is open 24 hours seven days a week, but passers-by will find it does not permit RV’s. Therefore, if you are planning to drop by in a RV don’t do it, you will be wasting your time. Also, if you are a non smoker, then stay away, unless you don’t mind passive smoke. Although this casino offers a non smokers area, there are mixed reviews among players that indicate that you will come out smelling like a chimney.
There are no table games, only slot machines. There is a kids room with video games to keep the young ones occupied. Food is relatively reasonable, it’s $20 for the buffet, however there is a limited selection of dishes on offer, and only available from Friday to Sunday. I guess this is when the big players play.
Overall, this casino has an average rating. Not bad if you are passing through and only want to play slots. Be prepared to put on a gas mask if you are a non smoker.
The minimum age allowed at Miccosukee casino is 18.
Big Cypress Casino
Government Road, Hwy 833, Clewiston
In Clewiston, Florida you will find the Big Cypress Casino which covers 10,000 square feet of gaming and offers 30 gaming machines only. There are NO table games or poker tables or any other gaming besides the 30 gaming machines.
I’m not sure how they managed to be permitted to use the word Casino to describe Big Cypress. There’s plenty to see at Big Cypress but not the gaming.
Casino Miami Jai-Alai
3500 NW 37th Ave, Miami
Casino Miami Jai-Alai uring offers live Jai-Alai and betting options. It covers over 50,000 square foot and has a huge offering of over 1,000 slot machines and poker rooms.
This casino is relatively small, with no free drinks – this includes alcohol and non alcoholic beverages. And on top of that, the drinks are quite expensive – stick to the water if you can. The good thing going for this casino, is that new players receive a $50 welcoming bonus. This is fantastic for first new comers. The age requirement is 21 or older. Lots of slots machines and a few poker rooms, but no live tables.
They could put in a bit of effort with the cleanliness, particular in the toilet area, the facilities are also a little bit run down and could so with sprucing up. Overall, an average casino in Miami.
The Casino @ Dania Beach South Florida
301 E Dania Beach Blvd, Dania Beach
Together with Casino Miami Jai-Alai, The Casino @ Dania Beach also offers live betting on jai-alai. This casino is the newest casino on the block and offers a variety of betting options on jai-alai.
No other US state has as many casino cruises as Florida. As Florida resides along the south east coast of the US where the weather is usually warm, it’s only natural that casino cruises form a huge part of the State’s attractions. Nearly all cruises contain some form of gambling and there are even some cruises which are purely for bringing passengers to international waters for the purpose of gaming.
There are various ports from which you can board a casino cruise, these can be found in: Tampa, Miami, Hollywood, Cape Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miramar, Port Richey Beach, Riviera Beach and Fort Myers Beach.
Most cruises will have a non smoking section. They travel out for 12 miles to get to international waters whereby they then allow gaming according to international law.
Victory Casino Cruises
B 2, 180 Christopher Columbus Dr, Cape Canaveral
If you are unsure what to expect when going on a casino cruise, then read on. You will enjoy the Victory Casino Cruises!
First up, you will find that this won’t cost an arm and a leg to purchase a boarding ticket – a very reasonable $13 per person. Even if you just wanted to see the sights on a cruise, such as the dolphins, this price is more than justified. The price of the buffet is also more than reasonable at only $15, and it’s not one of those buffet’s with only a handful of dishes. This is the full complete buffet. On top of that, if you were to purchase the ticket and the buffet as a package, you get $10 credit bonus for playing the slot machines. Okay, some of you may be thinking “meh”, but hey, $10 is better than nothing. There are also special Groupon deals that can be found, that also offers great value for money.
Moving on, let’s then talk about the slot machines. Perhaps $10 is great after all, but pointless if the machines are old and clunky. Wrong! There is a wide variety of slot machines and they are constantly updated by the operators. The slot machines run at a reasonable payout ratio. Don’t expect to come up with big winnings, but then again, the machines aren’t extraordinarily tight.
Other games include bingo, black jack, live Texas hold’em poker, roulette, and many many more.
To get to the terminal, you can park your car quite nearby. Parking is for free, but note that you won’t be able to park in the immediate vicinity, though only within a 5 to 10 minute walk. Upon boarding, your ID will be checked. So make sure you bring your ID card or passport if you are a tourist.
The minimum age for gambling is 18 years and above, drinking is 21 and above plus free drinks are served if you are gambling. After departing the terminal, it requires approximately 30 minutes before you can begin gambling. There are four floors to the ship, with designated smoking areas.
The entire trip takes up to four hours before returning to shore. Therefore, if you are susceptible to being sea sick, or you are a non gambler, bear in mind you must wait for four hours before you return to shore. There is no option for you to jump off the ship and swim back to shore.
The cruise operates all year round weather permitting.
The feedback from many customers is that this is a really fun and enjoyable cruise. The staff are extremely amicable, warm and professional. If you want to experience something new, then give the Victory Casino Cruise a go!
There are many racino’s in Florida. Over fifteen of them.
Each can only offer limited poker alongside the races.
Calder Casino and Race Course
21001 NW 27th Ave, Miami Gardens
This casino is for non smokers. A nice little casino, that provides a $20 bonus for new comers. Every Saturday, the live band performances are very popular, particular with the Treetop band. There is a cool outdoor section called the Backyard Casino for playing roulette and other games and for those who like to smoke. Although, there isn’t much more in the outdoor section. Soda and water is free and the food is amazing. For the non smokers out there, give Calder Casino a try!
Attached to the casino is the race track. It used to be called Calder Casino and Race Course, but only in the last year did the name change to Gulfstream Park West.
Jai-alai is a ball game similar to racquet ball. Each player uses a cast to throw the ball against a wall. Teams of players take turn in catching and throwing the ball against the wall. The court is long and narrow and is sectioned with markers. It is an extremely fast game, and requires significant skill. Gambling can also be fast and furious. There are various bets that can be placed live at the venue.
Owning Slot Machines in Florida
It is illegal to own new slot machines in Florida, however the State allows for old machines to be owned and encourages the collection of slot machines which are over 20 years old. Technically slots could be played and owned by anyone, except the new slot machines can only be run by the casinos and racinos.
Florida offers both the state and federal forms of lotto. Residents can participate in the Mega Millions and Powerball lottery, and they can also choose to play with the state sanctioned lotto.
8 Most Popular Florida Gambling Options for 2021
The latest data is out for gambling turnover in the State of Florida, and it is showing a steady and expected trend for the year 2021.
With a population of over 20 million, you can guarantee that the gambling options for Florida are going to be strong. The diverse betting options which includes: Horse and Greyhound racing, State Lottery, Online Casinos, Jai Alai (Sport), Tribal Casinos, Card Clubs, Slot and other gaming machines, makes Florida stronger than a lot of the other US States.
Although Jai Alai is permitted, other forms of sports betting has yet to be legalized and is facing some strong head winds as we proceed through 2021.
We will now break down the popularity of various forms of Florida gambling for the year 2021.
We use the projected gambling turnover, as stipulated by H2GC.com, in their collation of of data. The data is not definitive, and by no means detailed, but at a high level it is indicative of how the overall Florida betting scene is playing out. We use gambling turnover, rather than profits margins per gaming type, as it more aligns with the popularity of a game. As an example, Jai Alai may be more profitable than online casinos, but this doesn’t mean that more people are playing it.
Florida Gambling 2020 Breakdown
1. Florida Casinos – $15 billion
Florida casinos tops the list at a whopping $15 billion wagered for the year 2020. A small uplift is expected in the year 2021, but more or less will remain at $15 billion to be wagered.
With a mixture of casinos, racinos and casino cruises, Florida casinos offer all the usual traditional casino table games plus the rare more less played games. Florida casinos are dominated by tribal casinos. The largest tribal organization being the Seminole tribe which owns 7 casinos. Last year, their 7 casinos contributed $2.5 billion to the 2019 turnover.
Without doubt, gambling on-site at a casino in Florida remains the most popular betting option for residents and visitors.
2. Slots and other gaming machines – $9 billion
Gaming machines net a turnover of $9 billion for the year 2020 and is projected to be the same in 2021. Slot machines remain the most popular of gaming machines and can be found in most casino establishments. The minimum legal age to play slots is therefore 21 years of age, in alignment with entering and playing at a casino.
Gaming machines are the second most popular gambling option in Florida, however the Lottery games are not far behind it.
3. Lottery games – $7 billion
Coming in at a close third, are the lottery games issued and operated by the government run Florida Lottery.
Of the $7 billion of turnover in 2020, the by far the biggest contributor to this pool were the Scratch-off tickets at $5 billion. Obviously Florida has a huge appetite for playing scratch off tickets! Way behind, at $550 million, is Powerball followed by Cash 3 and Mega Millions.
Below is a breakdown of 2020 Lottery turnover in the millions
|Scratch Off Tickets||5,024|
4. Cash Games (Tournaments) – $3 billion
I was surprised at how popular cash games are in Florida. Cash Games includes bingo and other forms of games that don’t require beating a dealer or the casino. They need to be organised and managed between players with the winner taking a prize, pool or a pot whereby all players have contributed to.
Cash games are a staggering $3 billion in Florida! Which although pales in comparison to the top 3, is still quite significant. Cash games are projected to also be $3 billion for the year 2021.
5. Horse racing – $454 million
The Horse racing industry isn’t was it used to be in the US. But it is trying to tread water in Florida. With a turnover of $454 million for the year 2020 (for both on track and inter track), we expect this to drop off in 2021 to $420 million. The gambling industry is fierce in Florida, and with the potential legalization of sports betting in 2021, with would only put a further threat to horse racing.
6. Greyhound – $192 million
Greyhound is a very respectable sixth in popularity in Florida. It too is facing strong head winds, with popularity waning. The difficulty with Horse racing and greyhound racing is that the profit margins are tight with capital required to maintain infrastructure. We expect turnover to fall from $192 million to $174 million in 2021.
7. Florida Online Casinos – $137 million
Gambling on online casinos remains illegal for onshore local operators, however, offshore online casinos accept players from Florida due to the outdated and ambiguous gaming laws. Coming in at seventh, at only $137 million, online casinos in Florida is by far no where near as popular as other forms of betting.
Online casino table games make up more than half of the turnover, with online bingo outpacing online poker which is a surprise.
8. Jai Alai – $9 million
Unique to Florida for US States is the sport Jai Alai. Given that it is a small sport it does a tremendous job to rank in the top 8 of most popular forms of betting in Florida. However, If sports betting becomes legal in Florida, don’t expect Jai-Alai to rank anywhere near the top 8. It will be swallowed up with the broader spectrum of sports betting.
Conclusion for 2021 Gambling Options in Florida
Florida gambling options are wide and plentiful with the most popular form being visiting a casino. Tribal casinos dominate the casino scene, with a few commercial operators also operating in that space. Some casinos can be on par with those in Las Vegas, with the glamour and the glitz. Hence, it’s understandable why many would patron casinos.
Though if you don’t wish to visit a casino there are still many other options. The Florida Lottery continues to flourish, but the same cannot be said for horse and greyhound racing. These two forms of gambling are facing strong head winds and are expected to lose revenue in the year 2021.
Lastly, if you want to play anywhere, anytime, at your convenience, Florida online casinos remains an option.
A Lawyer’s Opinion
Florida residents may take advantage of the state’s many land-based casinos, many operated by the Seminole tribe, and the state’s many casino cruises that operate along the longest shoreline in the continental states, but face an unregulated area when it comes to online gambling. Last year the Florida Constitution was amended so at require voters to approve any new gambling laws in the state via referendum, which could signal a change as the momentum behind online gambling continues to grow.
In addition to Tribal casinos and casino cruises, charitable gambling (notably bingo halls) is legal as is jai-alai frontons as a result of the state’s many Cuban immigrants. See FLA STAT. § 849.01 et seq.; FLA STAT. § 550.001 et seq.
Sports Betting: Sports betting is banned in Florida, a fact that is unlikely to change anytime soon. Notwithstanding this, the governor has been pushing a deal between the tribes and the state to allow tribal casinos and non-tribal racetracks and jai alai operators to offer sports betting. Interested parties should take care to follow the news as negotiations continue.
Race Betting: Like in many states, horse betting is legal in Florida at its racing tracks as well as other venues that allow pari-mutuel betting. Dog racing will be outlawed by the year 2021. Off-track betting exists through Florida’s race tracks and jai-alai frontons. The licensed domestic platforms of TGV, BetAmerica, and TwinSpires all operate in the state.
Online Gambling & Gaming: As of now, only social online gaming through licensed casinos is permitted with the Seminole Tribe and Hard Rock International launching two domestic social gaming sites last year, while other sites do accept Florida players. Except for social gaming, however, online gambling is unregulated; thus, players who wish to participate in online poker and similar games may do so only through risky unlicensed offshore platforms and face risk of prosecution.
The information in this multi-state research is made available by a licensed, U.S. attorney, and is for informational purposes only. We make no representations that the information is complete or correct in its entirety. It should not be construed as providing specific legal advice, and you acknowledge that no attorney/client relationship exists between us. This brief should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed gambling and entertainment lawyer in your state.
The state of Florida offers an array on gambling options. Residing along the east coast with a great climate, one of the main attractions in Florida are the casino cruises. Alongside this offering are also the famous native American casinos. You will not be disappointed when looking for entertainment in this state.
Wikipedia: List of Florida Casinos