Florida’s cardrooms and the Seminole Tribe clashed over sports betting but likely want to keep the status quo for poker. The Seminoles fear losing their igaming monopoly while the cardrooms don’t want more competition.
Last updated: February 9, 2024
Florida is a robust market for in-person, but not online, poker. That seems to suit everyone just fine — for now.
Parimutuels operate more than two dozen cardrooms around the state, each of which must be registered with the state. There are also six tribal casinos in Florida that have cardrooms.
It’s a strange coexistence, considering how adamant a pair of cardrooms have been that the Seminole Tribe should not be allowed to offer sports betting. The Seminoles want to hold on to their igaming monopoly at all costs. Meanwhile, the cardrooms are wary that if the state suddenly allowed the licensure of operators like BetMGM Poker, PokerStars, and WSOP that they would be impacted.
There are a few pathways for online poker, and even multi-state poker, to become a reality someday — but the status quo will likely remain in effect for the foreseeable future.
No, real money online poker is not available in Florida. It is not expected to become available anytime soon because the Seminole Tribe and about two dozen cardrooms registered with the state probably want to keep the status quo. Consider that the Seminoles currently enjoy a monopoly on igaming, while the cardrooms aren’t competing with the likes of BetMGM Poker, PokerStars, and WSOP.
Voters in Florida would have to approve any igaming expansion, but this also seems unlikely. It’s a socially conservative state that has long been opposed to gaming, especially land-based casinos.
|Poker in Florida: Key Facts
|Florida has 27 registered cardrooms. Tribal casinos also have cardrooms.
|🗺 Where Located?
|Across the state, more in metro areas.
|📅 Date Legalized
|1989 – Penny-ante games in private homes; Cardrooms at tribal casinos.
1996 – Cardrooms at parimutuels.
2003 – Bet limits raised (also in 2007 and 2010).
|👥 State Population
|22.2 million (ranks 3rd)
|⚖️ Regulated By
|Florida Gaming Control Commission (FGCC)
|🔞 Legal Age to Gamble
According to the Florida Gaming Control Commission (FGCC), there are a variety of legal gambling options in the Sunshine State, including:
There are seven tribal casinos in Florida, six of which are owned and operated by the Seminole Tribe. The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida own the seventh. FGCC oversees a compact between the State of Florida and the Seminoles, but there is no compact with the Miccosukees — consequently, the latter operates under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).
State law allows cardrooms to charge a “rake.” It’s a fee where players pay for the right to participate in poker events — and to reimburse the cardroom for its services (the dealer, etc.) The rake can take many forms — some cardrooms charge a flat fee or an hourly rate for a player to have a seat at the table, while others take a percentage of the pot. Participation fees must be posted in a conspicuous place at each table at all times.
Cardrooms are not allowed to have any direct economic interest or receive any portion of the winnings from a poker game, with the exception of the rake.
It should be noted that this setup in Florida is very different from cardrooms in California and private poker clubs in Texas, both of whom are barred by state law from charging a rake. Rather, California’s cardrooms charge a collection fee, while players who visit a poker club in Texas pay a membership fee.
It should be noted that this setup in Florida is very different from the rules that cardrooms in California and private poker clubs in Texas must follow. Both states have laws barred them from charging a rake. To comply with state law, California’s cardrooms charge a collection fee, while players who visit a poker club in Texas pay a membership fee.
Poker is available all over the Sunshine State — at more than two dozen cardrooms registered with the state, and at six tribal casinos.
It hasn’t always been this way. Penny-ante poker games in private homes became legal in 1989, but with an important caveat — the pot was not allowed to exceed $10. Legalization opened the door for tribal casinos to also offer poker under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).
Parimutuels were allowed to open registered cardrooms beginning in 1996, but these were still subject to the aforementioned $10 pot limit. That changed in 2003 — when bet limits at cardrooms were raised to a maximum of $2, with a three-raise limit. Bet limits were raised to $5 in limit poker games in 2007. That same year, No Limit Texas Hold’em and “no limit” tournaments with higher buy-ins were also permitted.
Bet limits were raised again in 2010, this time allowing no limits on bets, pots, or tournament action. Cardrooms began setting limits on their own after that point, and some began to place limits on buy-ins.
State law only allows parimutuels that hold an operating license for the current fiscal year to operate a cardroom. According to the FGCC’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, 27 cardrooms were registered with the state for the 2023-2024 fiscal year.
FGCC was created by the state legislature in 2021. For the 90 years before that, gaming oversight was provided by the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, then part of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
Florida is big, but most poker players in the Sunshine State are within driving distance of the more than two dozen registered cardrooms.
Most of the Florida counties that have a cardroom within its borders only have one. Five counties have more than one cardroom — Broward and Miami-Dade counties each have four cardrooms, while Hillsborough, Marion, and Volusia counties each have two.
There are also cardrooms at six tribal casinos in the state. The Seminole Tribe owns and operates five of them, while the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida operates one cardroom.
Florida’s registered cardrooms offer a variety of cash games. No Limit Hold’em (NLH) is the most popular game, but other poker variants found in the Sunshine State include Big O, Criss Cross Poker, DJ Wild Stud, Double Draw Poker, Face Up Pai Gow, High Card Flush, I Luv Suits, Mississippi Stud, Pot Limit Omaha (PLO), Three Card Poker, and Ultimate Texas Hold’em.
Poker games played in a designated player manner are also permitted in Florida. Most tournament events are NLH.
All of Florida’s registered cardrooms routinely host tournaments. A few cardrooms host some of the most well-known series in the US, including:
Most cardrooms have tournaments every day, all day long. There are also weekly and monthly tournaments, and some have special promotions attached. Examples include:
According to the FGCC’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, these are the top six registered cardrooms in Florida in terms of the number of available tables (50 or more):
|Palm Beach Kennel Club
|West Palm Beach
|Daytona Beach Racing and Card Club
|Harrah’s Pompano Beach
|The Casino @ Dania Beach
Under Florida law, only parimutuel permit holders that hold an operating license for the current fiscal year may hold a license to operate a cardroom. According to the FGCC’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, there were 27 cardrooms registered with the state for the 2023-2024 fiscal year.
Florida is big, but there are cardrooms spread across the entire state. Most Florida counties that have a cardroom only have one, but Broward and Miami-Dade each have four, while Hillsborough, Marion, and Volusia each have two.
|County (No. of Cardrooms)
|Cardrooms (No. of Tables)
|Club 52 (38)
|The Big Easy Casino (30), The Casino @ Dania Beach (50), Gulfstream Park (1), Harrah’s Pompano Beach (54)
|bestbet Orange Park (37)
|bestbet Jacksonville (92)
|Pensacola Greyhound Track & Poker Room (20)
|Creek Entertainment Gretna (15)
|Hamilton Downs (1)
|Tampa Bay Downs (25), TGT Poker & Racebook (19)
|Bonita Springs Poker Room (37)
|OcalaBetS (34), Oxford Downs (35)
|Calder Casino (8), Casino Miami (20), Magic City Casino (25), Hialeah Park Casino (28)
|Palm Beach (1)
|Palm Beach Kennel Club (67)
|Win! Derby (55)
|Saint Lucie (1)
|Card House Port St. Lucie (24)
|One-Eyed Jacks Poker Room (32)
|St. Johns (1)
|bestbet St. Augustine (49)
|Daytona Beach Racing and Card Club (58), Orange City Racing & Card Club (40)
|Ebro Greyhound Park & Poker Room (25)
Under a gaming compact with the State of Florida, the Seminole Tribe is authorized to run poker cardrooms at their six casinos in the state. Five casinos do have cardrooms — the exception being Seminole Classic Casino Hollywood.
Meanwhile, the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida is also allowed to operate a cardroom at its tribal casino in Miami because the tribe doesn’t have a compact with the State of Florida. Rather, the Miccosukees operate under IGRA, a federal statute.
|Miccosukee Casino & Resort
|Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood
|Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa
|Seminole Casino Coconut Creek
|Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee
|Seminole Casino Brighton
|Tribal Grand Total
The prospect of online poker launching in Florida anytime soon appears grim. That’s because two of the biggest stakeholders — the Seminole Tribe, and the 27 aforementioned cardrooms registered with the state — would both be opposed, albeit for different reasons.
For the Seminoles, allowing the state to issue licenses to private operators for online poker (e.g., BetMGM Poker, PokerStars, WSOP) would mean giving up its igaming monopoly. And since the tribe is (aside from the Miccosukees) the only game in town for land-based casino gaming, they would likely view online poker as impacting their own cardrooms.
The gaming company for the Seminoles, Hard Rock Digital, also has not added online poker to its platform. Hard Rock Bet is geared toward sports betting and, in New Jersey, online casino gaming.
On the other side, the cardrooms would oppose the issuance of private licenses because it would mean increased competition.
Both sides have already shown a willingness to lawyer up. West Flagler Associates and the Bonita-Fort Myers Corporation — owners of Magic City Casino and the Bonita Springs Poker Room, respectively — have been battling in federal and state court to try to block the Seminoles from offering online sports betting in Florida.
So far, the cardrooms have been unsuccessful and Hard Rock Bet went live in November 2023.
All things considered, it appears that both Seminoles and the cardrooms are OK with the status quo.
What if the status quo just won’t do? What if the state decides it wants to issue licenses to private operators for online poker? What if poker was added to the Hard Rock Bet platform? What if the state allowed registered cardrooms to form partnerships for online poker operators?
Florida lawmakers have apparently never considered launching online poker — at least not since April 15, 2011, aka Black Friday, the day the US Department of Justice (DOJ) ordered the three largest online poker operators at the time to cease operations. US online poker hasn’t been the same since. Today, real money online poker is legal in just eight states, but the game is only available in four states.
While the odds of having multi-state poker launch in the Sunshine State anytime soon appear slim, two scenarios stand out as the most likely to make it a reality:
Membership in a multi-state gaming compact is considered essential in order for online poker to succeed in a new market. A compact would allow operators to combine their player pools across the compact’s member states, thereby creating shared liquidity. That, in turn, can support larger tournaments and bigger prizes.
MSIGA would become much larger if Florida were to join its ranks. The total population of the aforementioned five states is just 25.3 million, but with the Sunshine State aboard the compact would nearly double in size to 47.5 million. The expanded compact would cover about 14% of the US population.
Without question, all four of the major poker operators in the US — BetMGM, PokerStars, WSOP, and Run It Once Poker (currently in the development) — would be interested in launching online poker in Florida. The state ranks third in terms of population with 22.2 million residents. It’s also the third-most populous US jurisdiction without legal real money online poker.
Florida’s membership in MSIGA would change everything. It would give each of the four aforementioned operators the chance to greatly expand their networks. If no other states were to legalize online poker in the interim, we could see BetMGM and WSOP create networks across four states. Run It Once could possibly run across five states, while PokerStars would likely opt to run a three-state network.
WSOP already has a presence in the state. Players at the cardroom at Harrah’s Pompano Beach, a horse racetrack, can participate in World Series of Poker (WSOP) US Circuit events. WSOP and Harrah’s are both owned by Caesars.
|Would likely create a three-state network across FL-MI-NJ.
|BetMGM Poker US
|Look for a four-state network that includes FL-MI-NJ-NV. The operator is expected to launch in Nevada at some point, but it also still needs to combine its MI and NJ player pools. Whether MI and NJ are combined before or after a launch of BetMGM NV remains to be seen.
|Has an advantage over its rivals in that it is already active in the state through the cardroom at Harrah’s Pompano Beach, one of the state’s largest. Would aim to create another four-state network of FL-MI-NJ-NV.
|Run It Once Poker US
|A poker platform in development by Rush Street Interactive (RSI). RSI will likely look to establish a three-state network across FL-MI-NJ first before potentially adding Delaware and West Virginia. But it could pass on those states, too.
Yes, there are 27 registered cardrooms that operate legally all over the state. Florida’s cardrooms take a percentage of the pot (or rake) for hosting a poker event. Cardrooms at tribal casinos also charge a rake.
Florida does not currently have online poker and is not expected to have it for some time, if ever. That’s because the Seminole Tribe and the state’s registered cardrooms likely prefer the status quo. At least 60% of Florida voters would have to approve any expansion of igaming, including the licensing of private operators — a high hurdle in a socially conservative state historically averse to gaming.
The Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, a unit of the Florida Gaming Control Commission (FGCC), lists 27 registered cardrooms. State law only allows parimutuel permit holders that hold an operating license for the current fiscal year to operate a cardroom.
Cardrooms are pretty evenly spread across the state. There are a few more cardroom choices in the Miami and Tampa-St. Petersburg metro areas. Most counties that have a cardroom only have one within their borders, but Broward (4), Hillsborough (2), Marion (2), Miami-Dade (4), and Volusia (2) are exceptions. There are also cardrooms at six tribal casinos.
Florida’s cardrooms take a percentage of the pot (or rake) from all poker action. The rake is usually just a few dollars per pot.
Only six of the 27 cardrooms registered in Florida have 50 or more tables. The largest of the six-pack is bestbet Jacksonville, which has 92 tables. The Palm Beach Kennel Club is second the 67 tables while the Daytona Beach Racing and Card Club ranks third with 58 tables.
Many cardrooms are open every day, 24/7. Some have those hours over the weekend but are closed during the early morning hours — typically between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Yes, cardrooms in Florida offer cash games and tournaments. The most popular formats are No Limit Hold’em (NLH) and Omaha, but variants such as Criss Cross Poker, Double Draw Poker, Face Up Pai Gow Poker, I Luv Suits Poker, Mississippi Stud, Three Card Poker, and Ultimate Texas Hold’em can also be found in the Sunshine State.
According to the Florida Gaming Control Commission (FGCC), the state’s registered cardrooms had gross revenue of $217.2 million during the 2022-2023 fiscal year, up more than 12% from previous year ($193.3 million). Table fees totaled $911,000.
No, online poker is not available in Florida and faces dim prospects in the short term. Legalization is difficult because the Seminole Tribe wants to maintain its monopoly on igaming while dozens of registered cardrooms will likely be opposed, due to fears online poker could dent their business.
PokerStars is one of the world’s most recognized brands for online poker, but it is not available in Florida. If online poker were to become legal in the Sunshine State, the operator would absolutely be interested in launching there. That’s because Florida ranks third in terms of state population with 22.2 million residents.
Actually, yes you can — but it will have to be in-person (not online) at Harrah’s Pompano Beach, a horse racetrack. Players can participate in World Series of Poker (WSOP) US Circuit events at the property, since WSOP and Harrah’s are both owned by Caesars. We expect the operator will want to launch in the state if online poker were to become legal, too.
Since online poker is not legal in Florida, you cannot play BetMGM Poker there. But if online poker becomes legal in the Sunshine State, we expect the brand — a 50/50 joint venture between Entain and MGM Resorts International — will be interested in deploying its poker platform there.
Offshore poker sites do not offer the same level of consumer protection as legal, regulated sites, so they are not recommended. Players who visit offshore sites are at risk of having their identity stolen when they disclose their financial and personal information. Federal officials have warned US citizens not to play on offshore sites because they have no legal recourse to collect winnings owed to them.
Information on the dangers that US citizens face when gambling on illegal offshore sites, as well as tips on how to tell if a poker site is legal, is available in this guide on Poker Shield.