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Florida’s Bold Legislative Move to Eliminate Illegal Slot Machines



Combatting Illegal Gaming: Florida’s Decisive Steps Against Unregulated Slots

Florida’s legislature is taking a firm stance against illegal slot machines, a long-standing issue in the state. With the introduction of bills SB 1046 and HB 189, Florida aims to clarify laws and significantly increase penalties for owning and operating these machines, marking a pivotal moment in the state’s fight against unregulated gambling activities.

Rising Concern Over Illegal Slot Operations

The prevalence of illegal slot machines in Florida has become a major concern, as highlighted by a Tampa Bay Times story revealing the extent of the issue. With an estimated 1,000 locations operating these machines statewide, the problem has captured the attention of both the public and lawmakers. This proliferation has prompted legislative action to address the situation and safeguard the integrity of legal gambling in Florida.

Legislation to Increase Penalties and Enforcement

Introduced in Florida’s legislature, SB 1046 and HB 189 represent a concerted effort to combat illegal slot operations. According to Dan McGinn, special counsel at Jones Walker, these bills aim to disincentivize the possession and operation of illegal slot machines by upgrading penalties from misdemeanors to felonies. This change is expected to motivate law enforcement to pursue these cases more aggressively, allocating their resources towards a significant public concern.

The Role of Law Enforcement in Addressing the Issue

Law enforcement plays a crucial role in tackling illegal slot machine activities. As McGinn points out, elevating the offense to a felony status provides a stronger incentive for law enforcement agencies to fully prosecute these cases. The proposed legislation also aligns with the Florida Gaming Control Commission’s efforts, as expressed by Director of External Affairs Eric Carr, to clamp down on illegal gambling houses that fuel criminal activities like drug trade and human trafficking.


Statutory Clarity and Public Menace

Florida’s approach to defining slot machines and gambling activities is clear-cut, as explained by McGinn. The state’s statutes and constitutional amendments distinctly outline what constitutes legal gambling, leaving no ambiguity. The passage of SB 1046 and HB 189 is seen as a crucial step in providing clarity for law enforcement and legislators, ultimately aiming to eradicate the public menace posed by unregulated gambling.

The National Perspective and AGA Support

The issue of illegal slot machines is not confined to Florida alone. The American Gaming Association (AGA) has been vocal about the negative impacts of unregulated “skill” machines nationwide. AGA President and CEO Bill Miller emphasizes the importance of legislation like SB 1046 and HB 189 in empowering states to combat illegal gambling, protect the vulnerable, and preserve public safety.


The introduction of SB 1046 and HB 189 in Florida’s legislature is a significant development in the state’s ongoing battle against illegal slot machines. By enhancing penalties and providing clear legal guidelines, these bills aim to protect communities and uphold the integrity of the gambling industry. This legislative action, supported by law enforcement and national gaming organizations, reflects Florida’s commitment to eliminating the threat of unregulated gambling and ensuring a safe and regulated gaming environment.


Jerome, a valuable addition to the Gamingo.News team, brings with him extensive journalistic experience in the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry was sparked during his college years when he participated in local poker tournaments, eventually leading to his exposure to the burgeoning world of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now utilizes his accumulated knowledge to fuel his passion for journalism, providing the team with the latest online scoops.

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