Home » Blog » florida senate passes bill for higher penalties for illegal gambling

Florida Senate Passes Bill For Higher Penalties For Illegal Gambling

Andy Newton

It was announced on Wednesday 28th February that the Florida Senate agreed to pass legislation that will see increased penalties for any person or gambling sites operating illegally.

This latest enhancement on the illegal gambling industry in Florida saw the upper chamber pass Senate Bill 1046, which proposes higher penalties for any breaches involving slot machines that are unlicenced.

The bill 1046, which was led by Senator John Martin (R-Lee), also means any punishments for operating illegal gambling operations can be increased from ‘second-degree’ to ‘third-degree’ felony charges.

Plus, for offenders that are seen repeating this crime these penalties will increase to a first-degree felony on the third or more offence.

The state of Florida has a third-degree felony penalty of up to $5,000 and can also carry up to five years in prison.

The SB 1046 Bill Gained 31 Votes

It was also reported that SB 1046 gained 31 votes from the 40-person Senate and with that the bill will now head to the House Of Representives to deliberate further action.

However, the Senate and Martin also agreed that any felony charge on arrest without prior notice is too harsh.

In response it was suggested that the law enforcement would need to first issue a ‘cease and desist’ letter, which would come from the Florida Gaming Control Commission, to an operation or site they suspect of running any illegal betting and gambling operation.

These letters would state that any gambling operations be ceased from trading within seven days of the letter in order to avoid any further action.

In short, the aim is to not put people in jail, who are not knowingly committing illegal gambling crimes, said John Martin.

But some operators are arguing that their arcade machines are skill-based and don’t fall into the ‘gambling’ sector.

“If the game includes a randomized element, such as a random chance as to which prize you can win — even if the outcome relies on skill — it’s considered a game of chance and is illegal under the regulations against slot machines,” based on a report from USA Today Network Florida.

Andy Newton

Horse racing, sports betting tipster and journalist that uses key trends and stats to find winners, plus new betting angles for readers. Andy Newton has leading industry contacts, including with some of the best horse racing stables in the UK with his long association with TrainersQuotes and FromTheStables. Has written for GeeGeez and BetBright, plus was the former sports betting editor of odds comparison site Easyodds and Juicestorm. Has also appeared on betting podcasts for MatchBook and has featured in the popular Weatherbys Cheltenham Festival Guide. Andy's ghost written for former top jockey Richard Dunwoody too and has a monthly column in the Racing Ahead horse racing magazine. Now a regular on SportsLens, giving his views, trends and tips mainly on horse racing (US & UK) and football (soccer), plus specializes in long form SEO sports betting content for news, tips and all things betting on any sport. If there's a stat to be explored and it's a sport, Andy will find a betting angle.