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What is the Difference Between Legal and Illegal Gambling in Florida?


When it comes to gambling in Florida, it is important for residents and visitors to have a thorough understanding of what the state deems legal. Failing to do so could result in charges of illegal gambling, which come with severe penalties. If you are being investigated for involvement in a gambling venture, or are already facing charges, it is critical to speak with an experienced white collar crime attorney who can help you begin building a strong defense.

Legal Gambling  

Under Florida law, gambling activity refers to all forms of wagering for real money or items of value, on any game of chance. This includes, but is not limited to casino card games, slot machines, horse racing, and dog racing. All of these gambling activities have been divided into two distinct categories: legal and illegal forms of gambling. For instance, casino games have been legalized in Florida, although they can only be played at casinos located on Seminole tribal lands and on cruise ships. Some counties in the state also allow those of legal age to visit slot casinos. Racetracks and tribal casinos can also host card games, although the amount that a person can bet in these games is still strictly regulated.

Sports betting, which includes using pari-mutuel machines on horse racing, dog racing, and jai alai games is also permitted under state law, as are lottery betting, and charity bingo games and raffles. Finally, penny-ante games with winnings that don’t exceed $10 are permitted in Florida if conducted by adults in a dwelling. Permitted games include poker, bridge, dominoes, pinochle, and mahjongg.

Illegal Gambling  

As a result of recently enacted legislation, gambling in online casinos is now strictly forbidden under state law. Online poker games also fall under the purview of this 2012 law, as are any games of skill. Chain letters and pyramid schemes are also considered forms of illegal gambling in Florida and so are strictly prohibited. Finally, state law explicitly prohibits the use of skill-based slot machines that reward players with cash winnings. This means that residents are barred from using any machine or device that can be operated by a user, and who can receive money, credit, an allowance, or anything of value by application of skill or by chance. This broad statutory definition of what qualifies as a slot machine leads many people to be unfairly charged with illegal gambling. If convicted, defendants face not only hefty fines and the creation of a permanent criminal record, but also jail time.

Consult with an Experienced Miami White Collar Crime Lawyer  

If you are currently being investigated for, or have been charged with illegal gambling in Florida, you need the assistance of an experienced attorney. Please call Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. Criminal Defense Attorneys at 305-670-9919 today to learn more about how a dedicated white collar crime attorney can help you. Initial consultations are conducted free of charge, so please don’t hesitate to call or contact a member of our legal team online today.


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Miami Criminal Attorneys

9130 South Dadeland Blvd
Miami, Florida 33156

Telephone: 305-670-9919
Fax: 305-670-9299

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