Skill-Based Gaming Laws: Florida

Goals

To find and learn about Florida's skill-based gaming laws.

Early Findings

  • Playing skill games is legal in Florida, betting on them, however, is not, except for certain exemptions granted under the law.. Anyone caught gambling on games of skill in Florida risks being arrested and charged with a second degree misdemeanor.
  • Florida statute 894.14 states, "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 depository 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, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083."
  • Florida's 2012 laws banning internet café casinos are broad enough that games of skill are also included.
  • It is important to note that although playing online poker is technically illegal in Florida, there haven’t yet been any arrests for playing online poker games exclusively.
  • One reason skill games, including online skills games, particularly poker, are illegal in Florida is because of compacts the state has with the Seminole and Miccosukee Indian tribes, granting them almost complete exclusivity as sites where games of skill and chance can not only be played, but wagered on as well.
  • Examples of specific exemptions include bowling tournaments that are allowed to issue real-cash prizes, certain free-to-enter lotteries, and social card games, including poker, as long as these games are played with ‘penny-ante’ stakes, meaning no individual can take winnings over the total of $10 in a single round, hand or game.
  • Individuals in Florida are not allowed to open or host online casinos, but they are allowed to play online casinos hosted from other states and countries, as long as those online casinos accept deposits from Florida.
  • Pari-mutuel machines, located inside racetracks, can be used to place bets on Jai-Alai, a regional ball game in a three-walled court, and on poker games played in on-site card rooms.
  • Skillz, a site that hosts skill games and skill game competitions and awards real prizes to winners located in 38 US states. Florida is not one of those states.

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