Florida Online Poker
As the US state with the fourth highest population, Florida is among those places in America best suited to legal online poker. However as things stand the best poker sites in Florida are licensed offshore, and will remain so until poker legal Florida legislation makes it into law.
Florida's motto is 'In God We Trust', and it is true to say the Sunshine State has more of a Christian-Conservative element in its legislature than some of the other United States. Politicians have attempted to push online poker bills through, although minimal progress has been made, and much like many of the States across America online poker is understood to be neither explicitly legal nor illegal in Florida.
Like a number of the States in the USA, the role of internet cafes has played a role in the discussion of online poker in Florida, and this is one of the reasons why the Sunshine State's near-20 million residents do not have in-state regulated legal poker sites yet. Still, by just playing poker online Florida residents are not thought to be at any risk of arrest.
Still, there are some potential positives as far as online poker Florida is concerned, with a bill proposed earlier this year (Senate Proposed Bill 7052) detailing the theoretical creation of a gaming control board, potentially clearing a path for legal poker sites Florida citizens can enjoy just like those further up the East Coast in New Jersey.
Can you play poker anywhere in Florida?
While when it comes to online poker legal Florida sites (licensed in-state) are yet to emerge, the Sunshine State's land-based casinos offer a wealth of poker games, including large World Poker Tour events. A number of big-name poker players hail from Florida, and many started out playing at these casinos, with the Seminole Hard Rock Casino arguably the most famous of the state's venues.
What role do Florida's Indian tribes play in the online poker landscape?
The Seminole tribe controls the bulk of legalized gambling activities in the state, and it seems likely that if it wants to introduce legal poker sites Florida will need to get them on-side. As the suggestion of a fully liberalized online gambling market often brings about concerns of an adverse impact on the land-based gambling industry, one would image that poker stands the best chance. By making poker legal Florida could create a regulated online poker environment that protects land-based interests with regard to other gambling games.
Haven't Floridians tried to pass a bill already?
Yes, more than once, in fact. Representative Joe Abruzzo has been the driving force behind much of the legislation, attempting to force an online poker bill through in 2010 and raising the possibility again two years later. With legal poker sites Florida could add millions of dollars to its tax revenue, but so far the Sunshine State has not quite made the desired progress due to factors such as tribal interests and concerns about internet cafes. As progress is made with regards to the latter, there is hope that a legal poker Florida push could be revived once again.
What's the deal with the internet cafes?
Florida has cracked down heavily on internet café gambling in recent years, after a number of venues attempted to use sweepstakes laws to their advantage. These venues sell products such as internet time to customers, and give away entries to online gambling-style games, with potential for cash prizes, as part of the deal. However while these flourished for a while in the absence of a legal poker Florida framework, state and federal US forces have since made a number of arrests along with illegal gambling felony charges for some of those involved.