Florida was among one of the first U.S. states to look into the regulations of online gambling back in 2011. In this year, Rep. Joseph Abruzzo filed the Internet Poker Consumer Protection and Revenue Generation Act, also known as HB77, to bring online poker to Florida. This bill was supposed to legalize not only online poker, but also casino games at a state level.
As it stands, that was also the year when several poker sites shut down due to violations, including PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker. The US Department of Justice stated that these websites fell under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and hence needed to be taken down. Because of this, the legalization of online gambling received a lot of bad press and impacted the HB 77, which was never able to emerge from the committee.
When the Federal Viral Act had been released in 2011, many expected that it would include online gambling along with sports betting. While the world of sports betting has seen many positive changes in the coming years, this was the last time that online gambling had been given any serious consideration.
Fast-forward to 2014, and any hopes of regulation regarding online gambling were shot down as Governor Rick Scott was completely opposed to the idea. He wanted to get online gambling prohibited not just on a state level, but throughout the country.
Since Scott’s stance against online gambling, no other laws have been passed since then in favor of it, or even for its consideration. In 2015, the Seminole Tribe signed an agreement with Scott which reserved them exclusive rights to offer casino games, effective for 20 years. However, poker rooms are not an exclusive right of the tribe, and if a legal battle arises to contest the legalization of casino games state-wide, there is hope the poker is one of the few which will not pose an issue.
Regardless of the limitations on gambling which have been placed in the state, Florida is still known to have many users and excellent poker players. Many continue to look out for online poker playing options.
As of 2018, live poker has already been a huge part of Florida, as several of its casinos have large poker rooms that have become hubs for tournaments involving cash games in the past decade. Cardrooms have been authorized through the Title XLVI (Crimes) of the Florida statutes, Chapter 849 addresses gambling, under Section 086. It is the online gambling laws that have taken a toll, and we are still looking for answers.
All is not lost: there are still offshore real money and play money card rooms that are up and running and available to customers in the state such as these Florida friendly poker sites.
Players can access several online sites that are regulated in the Caribbean, Central and South America. These sites are reputed, and they have been established for a long time, so they offer great services to their customers and a variety of options when it comes to playing poker online.
They have been operating for nearly two decades, and since they are regulated, they pose as a good alternative to the sites that may be based in the US but not backed up by any of the state laws.
There are many variables in operation when it comes to the legalization of online poker within Florida, so there is uncertainty involved as to whether there will be any changes regarding it in 2020.
Meanwhile, there are other offshore options available for the citizens of Florida eager to try out gambling online. There still remains hope for the push for regulation for games online.