Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Where can I find the laws that govern the cardrooms at Florida pari-mutuel wagering facilities?
A. Please refer to Section 849.086, Florida Statutes, and Chapter 61D-11, Florida Administrative Code. Both of these documents are on the internet at www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/pmw/statutes.html.
Q. Are there any regulations on home poker games?
It is the Division’s recommendation that you contact local law enforcement agencies in the area in which the gaming activities may occur, so that you may further discuss the legality of such gaming.
A. The Florida Statutes do allow certain “penny-ante” games. A penny-ante game is a series of poker, pinochle, bridge, rummy, canasta, hearts, dominoes, or mah-jongg in which the winnings of any player in a single round, hand, or game do not exceed $10 in value. “Penny-ante” games must be conducted in residential premises, owned or rented by a participant in the penny-ante game. Please see the following link for Section 849.085(2)(a), Florida Statutes: www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/pmw/statutes.htm.
Q. Can I open a cardroom in Florida?
A. Only existing pari-mutuel facilities and Indian gaming facilities can operate cardrooms.
Section 849.086(7)(a), Florida Statutes, requires that licensed cardrooms under the jurisdiction of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, operate at locations in which a pari-mutuel permit holder conducts pari-mutuel wagering activities pursuant to such permit holder’s valid pari-mutuel permit. (These are at licensed jai alai frontons, greyhound tracks and horse tracks.)
Q. Can I host a poker tournament in my bar/lounge?
A. The Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering does not have the regulatory authority to offer an opinion on activities that are not regulated by our Division. It is the Division’s recommendation that you contact local law enforcement agencies in the area in which the gaming activities may occur, so that you may further discuss the legality of such gaming. You may also contact the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco or the Division of Hotels and Restaurants at 850.487.1395, in regards to their regulatory authority for bars/lounges.
The State of Florida has determined that gambling consists of these three elements: 1) consideration (A donation or door fee may be consideration.); 2) a game of chance (the Florida Attorney General has determined that poker is a game of chance); and 3) prizes are awarded to winners (i.e. money, gift cards, bar tabs, trips, etc.). A game or tournament that is operated for the purpose of some or all of the proceeds going to charity does not negate or circumvent the definition of gambling. Please be advised that a “free” game or tournament, or an event conducted for charity may not negate or circumvent the definition of gambling.
Q. What types of games are offered in Florida’s licensed cardrooms?
A. Only poker and dominoes are authorized for play within Florida’s licensed cardrooms. Authorized games are played in a non-banking manner, which means that the house is not a participant in the game and the players compete only against each other.
Q. Where can I find the hours of operation or tournament schedule for each licensed cardroom?
A. Most cardroom operators specify their hours of operation and tournament schedules, via their websites. Use the following link to visit each cardroom operators' website or call the facility in which you have interest: www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/pmw/track.html.
Q. Can I purchase a tournament seat online?
A. Certain facilities are authorized to sell reservations for their tournaments seats online via a licensed cardroom vendor. Use the following link to visit each facility’s website or call the facility in which you have interest: www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/pmw/track.html.
Q. How do I know how much rake the house is taking during each game?
A. Each cardroom operator is required to post the participation fee (if any) and the rake amounts in a conspicuous place within the cardroom and at each cardroom table. The fee for participation must either be a flat fee or hourly rate, but must not be based on the amount won by players.
Q. How can I find the rules of play for a cardroom game offered at a licensed facility?
A. The rules of play and wagering requirements for each game are to be provided by the cardroom operators, upon request. Procedures for all cardroom games shall be compliant with Section 849.086, Florida Statutes, and Chapter 61D-11, Florida Administrative Code.
Q. Where can I find information about opening a card dealer school in Florida?
A. The Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering does not regulate card dealer schools. Please contact the Department of Education, Commission for Independent Education, for more information regarding card dealer schools in the State of Florida, at 1.850.245.3200.
Q. How can I file a complaint about a licensed cardroom?
A. Complaints must be in writing. You can go to any pari-mutuel facility in Florida to obtain the complaint form from the State Office. You may also obtain the Uniform Complaint Form by mail, fax, or Internet by visiting the following site: www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/pmw/PMW-FORMS-Pari-Mutuel_Wagering_and_Cardrooms.html.
Q. How can I get my cardroom game played in a licensed cardroom?
A. The Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering will not accept, nor offer an opinion on, cardroom game proposals from any source other than a licensed cardroom operator in Florida. The Division recommends that game developers and interested persons contact the licensed cardroom operators. Use the following link to visit each facility’s website or call the cardroom in which you have interest: www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/pmw/track.html.