Florida Casino and Card Room Gaming

Casino City is an independent directory and information service free of any gaming operator’s control. Critics of the ban say shuttering the 1,000 or so internet café casinos will eliminate approximately $1 billion in gaming revenue and create the biggest decrease in gambling in Florida in more then 100 years. The main reasons were conservative opposition to expanding gambling and potential loss of revenue from the Seminole Tribe Gaming Compact (a guaranteed payout of $1 billion to the state through 2015). The proposal would have created a state gaming commission and three Southeast Florida casino licenses. The bill also includes a provision to allow the Seminole tribe to add table games such as roulette and craps in addition to blackjack at their gaming facilities. The Florida House version of the bill, however, would not allow the tribe to operate the additional table games and would increase the share of revenue due to the state from the tribe.

Casino operations aboard ships in international waters are unregulated, and therefore Casino City does not include revenue from these activities. There are hundreds of jurisdictions in the world with Internet access and hundreds different games and gambling opportunities available on the Internet. In June 2017, the Senate passed a gambling expansion bill that would allow racing facilities to operate casino-style games and allow eight counties to offer slots. Card rooms at racetracks and jai alai frontons outside of Miami-Dade and Broward counties also offer gaming, but are limited to the operation of non-banked card games, such as poker. In March 2005, voters in Broward County agreed to add Las Vegas-style slot machines at its racetracks and frontons, while neighboring Miami-Dade County residents rejected a similar proposal. In January 2012, Miami Jai-Alai opened its 35,000-square-foot facility housing over 1,000 Las Vegas-style slot machines. In July 2007, Miami-Dade County held a referendum during the January 2008 primary on whether to allow slot machines at Miami Jai-Alai, Calder Race Track and Flagler Dog Track. In March 2012, a bill (SB 382) allowing dog track owners to operate poker rooms and other games and phase out live dog races failed for the third straight year.

The decision opened the door for the Hollywood Greyhound Track, Dania Jai-Alai, Gulfstream Park and Pompano Park Harness Track to convert their businesses into major casinos. In March 2007, a proposed amendment to the state constitution allowing each county to decide whether to have casinos failed to be placed on the ballot. Collectively, if approved, the bills would permit the establishment of resort-style casinos and allow slots at racetracks and dog tracks. Casino and card room gaming in Florida comprises card rooms and slots at racetracks, jai-alai frontons and casino cruises. In April 2008, the Florida Senate rejected a bill to allow the Palm Beach Kennel Club to have a card room and an offtrack betting center. This has the effect of creating card room racinos. In May 2007, the Florida Legislature passed two gambling-related bills: an update to the Florida Slot Machine Act that extended hours of operation, allowed ATMs in casinos, and increased the number of machines allowed from 1,500 to 2,000; and a bill that allowed card rooms to be open year-round and increased the betting limits to $5. The bill would have allowed slot machines and certain card games at hotels with at least 250 rooms.

In May 2008, gambling opponents and animal rights organizations filed a lawsuit challenging the 2004 statewide vote that allowed Broward and Miami-Dade counties the right to have slot machines. Under the plan, gambling ships would be allowed to run gambling operations from 7 a.m. 2 a.m. while at port. While the bill initially gathered support, it failed to gain real momentum. Rick Scott signed the bill into law, effectively shutting down the controversial industry. The bill died in committee. In February 2013, HB155/SB1030: Prohibition of Electronic Gambling Devices, another bill outlawing the types of electronic games used in internet cafés, was introduced with a different outcome. In 2012, the Florida Legislature pushed a bill (SB 710/HB 489) allowing casino-resorts in South Florida. The bills would also shift and decentralize gambling away from North Florida and disperse it south. Dana Young introduced four gambling bills to the Florida House of Representatives. After the failure to pass destination casino legislation and facing criticism over not having a gaming regulatory agency in place, lawmakers contracted with the New Jersey-based Spectrum Gaming Group to conduct a study of the state’s gambling economy and laws, and specifically the expansion of gaming in Florida. In November 2018, Florida’s Amendment 3 passed with more than 70% of the vote, giving the public the power to decide on the future expansion of gambling in the state.

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