Is a Poker Run Gambling Florida?

is a poker run gambling florida

Florida boasts many forms of gambling, from pari-mutuel casinos and horse racing tracks, jai alai frontons and greyhound racetracks to cardrooms and tribal casinos. Gambling in Florida is legal but there may be laws against running illegal games, leading to potential criminal prosecution in certain cases.

A poker run is a gambling event in which participants use their own boats and take part in poker games while traveling between various destinations. Poker runs have become increasingly popular around the world and even tournaments exist to test players’ mettle in these events. Unfortunately, in Florida they do not constitute legal forms of gambling as Florida state law prohibits any form of gambling other than those conducted by non-profit organizations.

The Miami Boat Show Poker Run will take place this Thursday and Friday. A fleet of 75 boats depart Grove Harbour Marina in Coconut Grove at 11 a.m. to visit Gilbert’s Resort in Key Largo for lunch break before traveling onward to Hawks Cay Resort for final stop and dinner celebration celebration, traveling approximately 80 to 100 miles between them.

Florida does not feature traditional casinos; however, the state offers other forms of gambling facilities, most notably tribal casinos that operate a variety of games. Florida also features several pari-mutuel establishments offering various forms of gambling including poker.

Florida players have the legal option of playing online poker legally, though this practice is less popular due to ambiguous gambling laws and interpretation by local police departments. Tallahassee-based lawyer Marc Dunbar of Florida State University who teaches gambling and pari-mutuel law warns Nutz players could face misdemeanor charges should they be caught.

In 1989, Florida lawmakers passed a bill permitting penny-ante poker games in private homes with pots under $10 – this made Florida more permissive toward poker games than before but did not protect Nutz as an unregulated free-poker league.

State officials don’t expect legalized online poker anytime soon due to opposition from the Seminole Tribe and numerous cardrooms registered with them, along with needing approval of a multi-state igaming compact to do so.

BetMGM, PokerStars and WSOP would likely be eager to offer online poker to Floridians; thus they lobbying to add Florida to the MSIGA, which currently comprises five states with millions of residents. But over 60% of voters would need to approve any igaming expansion; given Florida’s social conservative environment this seems unlikely any time soon.