History of gambling in Florida

 

1931 – Florida legislature approves horse and dog racing by one vote, and then overrode veto by Gov. Doyle Carlton.

1935 – Jai-alai and slot machines legalized in Florida.

1937 – slot machines made illegal.

1970 – Bingo is legalized.
(http://www.tampabay.com/news/perspective/a-timeline-of-gambling-in-florida/1054345)

1978 – Florida voters reject full-scale casino gambling constitutional amendment. (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1320&dat=19850223&id=aT1WAAAAIBAJ&sjid=z-kDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5858,2509532; http://ballotpedia.org/Florida_Casino_Gambling,_Amendment_9_(1978))

1979 – Seminole tribe opposes Florida limit on bingo games and opens high-stakes bingo hall in Broward County. (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2206&dat=19791116&id=JtYzAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ZusFAAAAIBAJ&pg=3637,2260353)

1981 – 8 retirees are arrested for playing a low-stakes poker game in their retirement community. The group came to be known as the ‘Largo 8.” (“The Quiet, Pokerless Twilight of ‘The Largo 8’”, The New York Times, Section 1, p. 22)

1986 – Florida voters reject another full-scale casino gambling constitutional amendment. (https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1291&dat=19851227&id=uD9UAAAAIBAJ&sjid=uowDAAAAIBAJ&pg=4833,10287547&hl=en, http://ballotpedia.org/Florida_Casino_Authorization,_Amendment_2_(1986))

1986 – Florida voters approve the lottery. (https://results.elections.myflorida.com/Index.asp?ElectionDate=11/4/1986&DATAMODE=)

1988 – The lottery began operations in 1988. Pari-mutuel owners blame lottery sales as a major reason for decline in their business. (Yeomans, Adam, “Pari-mutuels no Sure Bet,” Orlando Sentinel, March 9, 1992, Central Florida Business Section, p. 14)

1988 – Federal government passes Indian Gaming Regulatory Act – this act gives the native tribes any form of gambling legalized in the state, and the ability to augment the game by electronic means. This allows Seminole tribe to install video lottery machines on tribal facilities. Pari-mutuel owners again complain that their business is hurt by this competition. (Bell, Maya, “Tracks, Frontons Race to Survive in Post-Lottery World,” Orlando Sentinel, March 9, 1997, Business Section, pg. H1)

1989 – Florida legalizes penny-ante poker games in private homes as long as the pot does not exceed $10. Due to IGRA, this allows poker rooms to be built on tribal lands. Once again, the pari-mutuel owners complain about unfair competition from the tribes. (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1320&dat=19890612&id=q-YxAAAAIBAJ&sjid=MOoDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3954,4489316)

1994 – Florida voters reject constitutional amendment that would, ”legalize high-stakes gambling at 30 pari-mutuel sites, on five riverboats and at 12 sites in nine counties.” (https://results.elections.myflorida.com/Index.asp?ElectionDate=11/8/1994&DATAMODE=; http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1994-10-09/news/9410080359_1_limited-casinos-casino-campaign-casino-riverboats)

1996 – Poker legalized at pari-mutuel facilities across the state, but with $10 pot limit. (http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1996-05-04/sports/9605030668_1_card-rooms-mutuel-pari)

2003 – Bet limits at pari-mutuel poker rooms raised to a maximum of $2 with a three-raise limit. (Bull, Roger, “Going all-in for poker; In less than a decade, Florida goes from quarter-ante to no-limit, putting the state and its card rooms in a position to be a big player in the poker world,” Florida Times-Union, July 26, 2010, pg. 1D)

2004 – Florida voters narrowly approve (50.8%) a constitutional amendment to allow slot machines at existing pari-mutuel facilities in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. (https://results.elections.myflorida.com/Index.asp?ElectionDate=11/2/2004&DATAMODE=) Due to IGRA, the Seminole Tribe of Florida permitted to install slot machines at their facilities in Hillsborough and Collier counties, as well as their facility in Broward.

2007 – Bet limits at pari-mutuel poker rooms raised to $5 from $2 in limit poker games. Allows “no limit” Texas Hold’em cash games, as well as higher buy-in “no-limit” tournaments. (http://www.sptimes.com/2007/06/15/Business/State_raises_poker_st.shtml)

2010 – Governor Charlie Crist enters a compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida giving the tribe exclusive rights to slot machines outside pari-mutuel facilities in Broward and Miami-Dade counties for 20 years, and banked card games such as blackjack and baccarat for five years. The Tribe pays the state of Florida $1 Billion over 5 years for this exclusivity. (Man, Anthony, “Crist, Seminoles Set to Celebrate Gambling Bill,” Sun-Sentinel, May 5, 2010, Online Edition, Local Section) A legislative leader instrumental to negotiating the deal and moving the compact through the legislative process said the compact, “does not allow further expansion of gaming’.” (Klas, Mary Ellen, “Seminole Gambling deal passes Florida House panel,” Miami Herald, April 9, 2010, Section B, page. 6)

2010 – Bet limits at pari-mutuel poker rooms raised to no-limits on bets, pots or tournament buy-ins. Poker rooms themselves set some limits on each table, and can limit buy-ins. (Bull, Roger, “Going all-in for poker; In less than a decade, Florida goes from quarter-ante to no-limit, putting the state and its card rooms in a position to be a big player in the poker world,” Florida Times-Union, July 26, 2010, pg. 1D)

2011 – A little over one year later, legislation is introduced to build so-called “destination resort” casinos in Florida, which would have violated the exclusivity clause in the compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. (CS/SB 710, filed 10/26/2011 for 2012 legislative session)

2013 – Spectrum Gaming Group released a report, commissioned by the Florida Legislature at a cost of $388,000 to assess the state’s gambling market. The report found that 95% of revenue from expanded gambling in Florida would come from Florida’s permanent and seasonal residents, not from tourists. The report also stated, “Rather than benefitting the state, expanded gambling (especially casinos) could make Florida a less-attractive tourist destination.” (http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2013/07/gaming-report-expanding-gambling-could-make-florida-less-attractive-tourist-destination.html; http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2013-10-01/business/nsf-florida-gambling-spectrum-analysis-20131001_1_casino-gambling-draft-report-spectrum-gaming-group; Full report from Spectrum Gaming Group – http://www.leg.state.fl.us/GamingStudy/docs/FGIS_Spectrum_28Oct2013.pdf part 1A, pg. 249-250)

2014 – “Wall Street analysts fear the South Florida gambling market is saturated, and it’s easy to see why: South Broward County has five casinos within 15 minutes of each other, and Miami-Dade has a pocket with three.” (http://www.sun-sentinel.com/business/consumer/fl-miami-gaming-outlook-parimutuels-111214-20141112-story.html)

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