Online Poker Real Money Florida

Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, Jason Mercier, and current November Niner Amir Lehavot– these are just a few of the real money poker behemoths originally hailing from the Sunshine State, Florida. In fact, in six of the past seven years, at least one resident of Florida has made the WSOP Final Table at one of the poker world’s most prestigious real cash poker betting events. This is in large part due to the popularity of online poker on legal poker websites in Florida prior to Black Friday.

Can Players From Florida Play Poker Online? Despite having an anti-online gambling Governor and an unenforceable law making all computers and smartphones illegal, residents and visitors to Florida can play online poker for real money at many USA Poker Sites.In addition to providing a rich selection of games, many online poker.

Since then, things have died down a bit in the Internet poker gambling world in FL. Recently implemented gambling and betting laws raise the question as to whether all forms of device driven gambling, like Internet poker betting for real cash, are technically illegal in 2020. Additionally, the state prohibits unregulated gambling in any shape, way or form meaning lawful poker websites are the only option for Florida’s poker betting fans.

  1. “Just as well,” you might say, as state legislators have not yet legalized online poker. Even so, the land-based offerings are superb. Florida poker tournament specialists have limitless options, including the WPT Poker Showdown at the Seminole Hard Rock poker room, WSOP Circuit events at the Palm Beach Kennel Club, and a Highland Poker.
  2. “Just as well,” you might say, as state legislators have not yet legalized online poker. Even so, the land-based offerings are superb. Florida poker tournament specialists have limitless options, including the WPT Poker Showdown at the Seminole Hard Rock poker room, WSOP Circuit events at the Palm Beach Kennel Club, and a Highland Poker.
  3. RECOMMENDED POKER WEBSITE FOR FLORIDA Since Florida does not have a license to facilitate online poker, we must defer to the offshore site of as our #1 choice. This is mainly due in part because they will always accept all 50 USA states while other sites remove states. VISIT SITE Video Review – Our Review.
Online Poker Real Money Florida

Still, the state’s 26 casinos, poker rooms with Texas Hold’em games and other poker games plus multiple racetracks are physical proof that real money poker and other gambling variants are thriving. And most of the state’s gambling community is widely in favor of passing legislation that would legalize online poker and usher in a new era of legit Internet poker websites for FL citizens. Yet, while several Internet poker bills have been brought to the table, it appears as though the betting residents of Florida are going to have to wait an indefinite amount of time before taking to the virtual real money poker felt.

As it stands in 2020, gambling online in The Sunshine State raises some questions. However, with the right real money US poker site, making a wager can be done.

History Of Florida Poker Legislation

Quick Jump

  • 4 Is Online Poker Legal In Florida?
  • 6 The History Of Gambling In Florida
In early 2011, State Representative Joseph Abruzzo introduced an Internet poker bill entitled HB 77 that would regulate intrastate online real cash poker websites throughout the state of FL. At the time, online poker was not illegal and many people were enjoying legal Internet poker as much as they could. However, according to the UIGEA of 2006, it was against federal law for a company based in the US to operate an online poker room or real money poker website for monetary compensation.

According to Abruzzo’s proposal, the state of Florida would receive 10 percent of all revenue generated through online poker and Internet poker transactions. His goal was to pass a form of the bill by March 2011 to be implemented no later than July 1st of that year. Unfortunately, the lawful poker websites bill died in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee in April 2011 [1].

Abruzzo would try again to get his Internet gambling and poker betting bill through in 2012, but due to heavy resistance from the Seminole tribe – the largest Indian gambling interest in the Sunshine State – efforts to legalize online gambling fell short and the reality of legit poker websites disappeared. It was around the same time that FL State began cracking down on Internet café gambling. This is when players go online and access real cash poker websites in public places. In the past that was a popular way to bypass the poker laws and get a game of Texas Hold’em real money poker in!

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Can Players From Florida Play Online Poker?

As of the time of writing, real cash poker players from Florida are still permitted to register accounts on US-facing poker websites. In light of recent laws passed by the state’s government, this could change at any time. So, if you’re playing Internet poker from FL in 2020, be aware and stay up to date with the Florida government’s most recent position on whether gambling on real money poker websites is legal.

There are still a lot of online poker rooms and poker websites that accept players from the United States, but they are not accepting players from all states. If you do decide to take to the virtual Texas Hold’em poker felt, it is recommended that you take a look at our list of the best Florida Poker Sites for real money.

Is Online Poker Legal In Florida?

While we are no legal authority on the subject of legit Internet poker in FL, we can say with confidence that Florida’s gambling and real money poker laws are vague, at best. Technically, there are no laws prohibiting someone from playing online poker for real cash at a poker website. However, some of the state’s laws can be interpreted to say it is illegal for FL poker players to play Internet poker.

If anything, Florida has failed to mention much of anything regarding the legality of online poker and whether gambling for real money at poker websites is legal. And although it is best to seek on the subject of Internet poker before participating in any online gambling or real money poker activity, we’ve summarized the key facets of 2020‘s gambling and real cash poker law in Florida, some of which can be interpreted to encompass online poker at poker websites:

  • According to Section 849.08, unregulated gambling in the state of Florida is illegal and considered a second degree misdemeanor. [2]
  • 849.08 goes on to state that playing cards, possibly including poker games like Texas Hold’em poker, on an unregulated device or at an unregulated facility is also illegal. Cards could be interpreted to include poker and Internet poker games, although the word “poker” is never specifically referred to.
  • Real money poker rooms are legal, but must adhere to a strict set of principles and guidelines set forth by the state.
  • Penny-ante home real cash poker games, where the winner of a hand wins no more than $10 are considered legal in so long as the poker betting game takes place at a dwelling – which can be interpreted as a place of residence. [3]

From this it can be concluded that playing online poker from a computer on poker websites, despite the location of the device, could be considered illegal. However, since no one has been prosecuted for playing online poker, it’s impossible to know how state officials would react to the issue of online poker and Internet poker play if presented before a court of law.
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HB3 – Prohibition of Simulated Gambling Devices

In early-2013 Florida passed HB3. For the sake of simplicity, we’ve paraphrased it below:

Section 849.16 indicates that machines or system[s] directly or indirectly operated by a user that can be used to play games of skill or by reason of any element of chance or any other outcome unpredictable by him or her are illegal, in so long as an exchange of real money, credit, allowance, or thing of value can be traded for.

HB3 was meant to outlaw Internet cafes where FL citizens went to play legal Internet poker in Florida. However, the language is so broad that it can be interpreted that any device, including computers, smartphones and tablets, that can be used to play on gambling and poker betting websites, are all technically illegal in 2020. [4] Absurd, we know – but that’s one way to read it.

The bill will likely be amended, and there are some that believe the new bill will include provisions outlawing Internet poker, including both off-shore real money poker websites and legal free-play Internet poker sites in the US. To support this theory, subscription-based online poker site [5] pulled out of Florida two days after the poker website gambling bill was signed into law by Governor Scott.

The Facts

The History Of Gambling In Florida



Due to the suffering that the economy endured during the early 30’s, the state of Florida legalized pari-mutuel gambling.



Gambling started to grow even more and slots were legalized in Florida.



Unfortunately, this law was revoked and slots were no longer available to play in the state of Florida.



Gambling was on the verge of growing even more throughout the state, but the referendum on granting casino gambling in Broward and Miami-Dade was defeated. This referendum was re-introduced in 1986 and 1994, resulting in the same outcome.



The Seminole Tribe made real strides in the gambling world and opened a high-stakes bingo hall on their own lad. Unfortunately, this did not conform with the state’s law but the appeal was won and the bingo hall remained open.

Real Money Online Poker In Florida


Best Poker Sites Florida


Finally, the referendum from previous years was passed and Broward and Miami-Dade got their casinos. This allowed them to expand their slots offerings, which would ultimately lead to more customers in the tribal casinos.



Legislature allows “No-Limit” poker to be played in live casinos. Resulting in a boom in venues throughout the state. Gambling was becoming a big thing in the state of Florida and was constantly growing in popularity.



This year saw a big decline in gambling facilities as internet cafes banned all gambling games from being accessed.

Gambling and real cash betting, whether sanctioned by the state or not, has existed in Florida since Henry Flagler enticed high-roller real money poker betting and casino fans by erecting the landmark (and illegal) Bacchus Club casino in 1888.

In the 1920s, the underground gambling and poker betting scene in both Tampa and Miami was thriving. A game called bolita, which originated in Cuba, was the poison of choice for most real cash high-rollers gambling in FL. In the 1930s, the rise of crime bosses like Al Capone led to illicit gambling circles and real money poker games throughout the state. Stories of murder, mayhem and corrupt police officers were common, and while not all of them were true, illegal gambling and poker betting become so popular that by the 1940s popular casino games were said to be buying elections in Florida.

The Great Depression compelled Florida’s government to seek ways to raise additional revenue. Subsequently, legislation legalizing real money gambling on horse racing was passed in 1931. This marked the first time gambling in any form was legal in Florida. Four years later, slot machines became legal.

The Florida State Lottery was sanctioned in 1988 and by 2008 generated more than $4.2 billion in annual real cash gambling wagers. Lottery officials claim that in the past two decades, over $20 billion in betting profits has been collected from the lottery fund to support educational causes.

Despite this, organized crime ruled the gambling and real money poker world in Florida throughout much of the 20th century. And it wouldn’t be until 2004 that the Seminole tribe would win the battle to operate Vegas-style real cash gambling slots in the state of FL.

Since then the Indian tribe has gained the right to spread more games in its various casinos. The state has settled its differences with the tribe, in large part due to the more than $2 billion in state revenue they generate each year in real money gambling profits for the government of Florida.

In 2010, Texas Hold’em No-Limit poker and other No Limit poker games became legal in Florida’s then 23 real money poker betting rooms and all Seminole poker rooms.

Today in 2020, Florida’s online and offline gambling and Internet poker community is bustling. Over two dozen real cash legal poker rooms, more than half-a-dozen tribal gaming casinos and three horse tracks litter the highly populated, tourist friendly Sunshine State of FL.

Although the state laws seem to be in flux, US poker players in Florida do have access to Internet poker rooms that take US players.

Regulated Gambling Options In Florida

The only type of regulated gambling not offered in Florida is commercial casinos. Horse racing, slot machines and lawful real money poker card rooms are all prevalent throughout the state. Florida also offers a state lottery, Powerball, bingo and raffles (only for charity) and para-mutual gambling on top of its wide legit real cash poker gambling offerings.

The Future Of Regulated Online Gambling In Florida

HB3 has most advocates of state regulated online poker extremely concerned about the possibility of legal Internet poker websites. Some fear a scenario where HB3 will be amended to ban online poker and gambling at Internet poker websites completely. And while the Internet poker bill is certainly not the last nail in the coffin, the Seminoles will likely resist any online poker legislation making Internet poker legal unless it can be amended to not jeopardize their poker gambling earnings.

The Bottom Line

It could be a long while before proposed online poker legislation is heard by the committee in FL. Will we eventually see some sort of legalized online poker giving the Sunshine State’s gambling fans somewhere legal to play real money poker in Florida? Probably, it won’t happen soon and all bets are off on when the first legit poker websites will open their doors.

Floridians best hope might be for the federal government to come around on the issue of legal Internet poker and gambling for real cash on poker websites. Until then, FL players are encouraged to enjoy Florida’s prospering no-limit real cash poker scene, and other poker variants. It’s a good way of getting in some real cash gambling practice before legit Internet poker betting for real money eventually comes to Florida!


[1] ↑Florida’s internet poker legislation won’t pass this session

[2] ↑Statute 849.08

[3] ↑Statute 849.085

[4] ↑Did new Florida law make computers and phones illegal?

[5] ↑ClubWPT

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Home» US Poker Laws » State Laws » Florida Poker Laws

Relevant state code: 849.01 et seq.; 550.001, et. seq.

With sweeping statutes and a bevy of arcane rules, Florida easily ranks as one of the least-friendly states for gamblers. The state takes a very strict approach to regulating gambling, and has a very broad definition of what constitutes gambling:

Section 849.08
Whoever plays or engages in any game at cards, keno, roulette, faro or other game of chance, at any place, by any device whatever, for money or other thing of value, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree

A separate part of Florida law specifically outlaws wagering on (unregulated) games of skill:

Section 849.14
Whoever stakes, bets or wagers any money or other thing of value upon the result of any trial or contest of skill, speed or power or endurance of human or beast, or whoever receives in any manner whatsoever any money or other thing of value staked, bet or wagered, or offered for the purpose of being staked, bet or wagered, by or for any other person upon any such result, or whoever knowingly becomes the custodian or depositary of any money or other thing of value so staked, bet, or wagered upon any such result, or whoever aids, or assists, or abets in any manner in any of such acts all of which are hereby forbidden, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree

These two aspects of Florida gambling law essentially make any sort of wagering that is not explicitly authorized by the state de facto illegal.

Florida has especially stiff penalties for those operating an illegal gambling business. In addition to the various direct charges that could result from the running or participation in the advancement of such an enterprise, Florida law treats gambling offenses as predicate offenses that can trigger more severe racketeering charges. As for those who merely participate in gambling, Florida has harsher penalties than you'll find in a typical state. Prosecutions of individual gamblers, however, appear to be quite rare in Florida.

What Gambling is Legal Under Florida Law?

Several forms of gambling are legal under Florida law. Parimutuel wagers are allowed at licensed horse and dog racing tracks. Florida administers a state-run lottery, and limited Indian casino gaming is also permitted in the state.

Social gambling is legal in Florida under very specific conditions. As is the case in most states, Florida requires that social gambling take place between people over the age of 18 and in an environment where no one is profiting (or attempting to profit) from the operation of the game. Florida also requires a $10 cap per hand or per round for the game to be considered 'penny ante' (their term for social gambling) and therefore legal. Finally, only bridge, canasta, dominoes, hearts, mah-jongg, pinochle, poker or rummy are allowed under Florida's social gambling exception..

Charitable bingo games are allowed under Florida law when conducted by authorized organizations, as are certain kinds of raffles. Poker games, whether tournaments or cash games, do not appear to be legal under charitable gambling law in Florida.

Can I Play Poker Legally in Florida?

If you play poker for real money at either a recognized tribal casino or in a 'penny ante' game as described above, you are well within the law in Florida.

Otherwise, poker for stakes would appear to be illegal under Florida law. Remember, the statutory definition of gambling includes prohibitions on both games involving cards and games of skill, so there seems to be little room for an exception for poker under current Florida law.

The question of whether or not individuals would run a real risk of prosecution for playing poker is a much different one. We were unable to locate any instances of individuals prosecuted simply for participating in an illegal poker game in the state of Florida.

Does Florida Allow Online Poker Sites or Gambling Online?

Florida law regarding gambling does not specifically address the issue of gambling or playing poker online.

As is the case with just about every state in the US, gambling law in Florida is vague and broad enough to potentially apply to just about any manner of wagering; for example, one could make a case that an individual playing poker online has essentially turned their computer into a gambling device that would be illegal under Florida law.

The ambiguity surrounding online gambling and the law in Florida is aptly illustrated by the controversy surrounding Internet Sweepstakes Cafes operated in the state. To the casual observer, such cafes would seem to clearly be serving as online casinos - but their operators claim to be within the boundaries of Florida law and may have at least a reasonable legal basis for that claim.

Summary: It is unlikely that either an online poker operator or player is within Florida law when it comes to real money games. Casino operators may have more room to work with thanks to Florida sweepstakes laws. The risk of facing prosecution as an individual player is actual in terms of the letter of Florida law, but apparently insignificant in practical terms..

Florida Gambling Law - Fun Facts

It's illegal to engage in gambling or horseracing within one mile of a religious camp.

Actual gambling isn't required for authorities to classify a place as a gambling house - they only need to find 'any of the implements, devices or apparatus commonly used in games of chance' to assume that a place is being used for the purpose of gambling.

Florida Gambling Law in the News

Florida state rep Joseph Abruzzo floated a law to regulate intrastate online poker back in 2010, but the bill failed to get any traction and was tabled in April of 2011.

A bill seeking to ban Internet sweepstakes cafes passed the Florida House in 2012, but seems to be permanently stalled in the Senate.

Will Florida Regulate and Legalize Online Poker Sites?

Regulated online poker sites in Florida faces a number of hurdles. First, any online gambling regulated or otherwise legally endorsed by the state would have to be in compliance with the current gaming compact the state has with the Seminole Tribe. Second, there appears to be little legislative motivation to tackle online poker, as evidenced by the death of Abruzzo's bill in 2011. Finally, the growing backlash against Internet sweepstakes cafes could conceivably result in legislation that would explicitly prohibit all internet-based gambling, effectively raising the legislative bar for an online poker bill.

It's not all negatives; Florida is the 4th largest state by population in the US and is already a popular destination for poker players thanks to a recent reversal of the state's wagering limits for poker. Those two facts suggest that Florida could be one of the few states where an intrastate poker room would actually be viable in terms of player liquidity.

With that said, it seems relatively unlikely that regulated online poker will come to Florida within the next three years, largely due to a lack of political motivation and the state's generally restrictive stance toward gambling.