Florida Bets Big With High Stakes Poker, New Legislation

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Published on:
Dec/26/2010
Florida High Stakes Poker

Time Magazine featured an interesting article this Christmas weekend on the Florida Seminoles looking to cash in big with high stakes poker thanks to legislation allowing for such games in the state. 

The Seminole tribe owns the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Hollywood, Florida, one of South Florida’s biggest attractions. 

Time.com points out that, last spring, the Florida legislature changed the state's gambling laws to let casinos and other gambling sites eliminate the maximum bet a player can place to "buy in" to a poker game, a limit that just a few years ago was a paltry $2.

Professional poker players, some of whom are local residents like 2010 WSOP November Niner Michael Mizrachi, have called the new regulations a “dream come true”.  Not only will such regs attract more pros, the World Poker Tour has already entered into a deal with the Seminoles to include the Hard Rock Casino among its stops this coming April. 

What Time.com wants to know:  Is Florida going to become the next big gambling destination?

Maybe, maybe not.

Gambling is indeed expanding in the Sunshine State. The poker change came on the heels of a deal struck between the legislature and the Seminoles to give the tribe exclusive rights, for five years, to spread blackjack to most of its seven reservations — an arrangement that guarantees the recession-ravaged state at least $1 billion in revenue. Higher stakes poker rooms are now sprouting up, not just at Indian casinos but also at more traditional Florida gambling sites like dog tracks, jai alai frontons and thoroughbred horse tracks called "racinos." Although the sites still often set buy-in maximums, the poker games these days can sometimes require a minimum bet of $50 and produce pots reaching the tens of thousands of dollars. (Read about new, aggressive styles within the World Series of Poker.)

Legislators say it's premature to envision Las Vegas in the Everglades. Vegas casino owners, like the proprietors of the Las Vegas Sands, are indeed making pitches to open dazzling resorts in Florida. But whereas gambling like high-stakes poker is ubiquitous in Nevada, there are areas of Florida like Orlando, home to Walt Disney World, where Mouseketeers and one-armed bandits don't exactly mesh.

State Rep. Jim Waldman told Time.com: "I don't think you're going to have another Vegas. What you're going to have are more options for people who want to gamble" in Florida.

- Gambling911.com Staff

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