Since the on-again, off-again rules regarding gambling were relaxed in Florida during the mid-20th century, the Sunshine State has flourished as a viable alternative to Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Visitors who flock to Florida in search of theme parks and golf are finding another altogether different diversion in its casinos.
Florida isn’t famous for its gambling scene, but there’s actually a decent selection of gaming floors north of the Everglades, so gamblers can still take down some big pots without having to go to Nevada or New Jersey. We’ve put together a selection of the best Florida casinos, so you can get stuck in and win some money without having to travel halfway across the country.
Daytona Beach Racing and Card Club, Daytona Beach
Daytona Beach is pretty famous already, thanks to its rich NASCAR heritage and success on the track. It’s no surprise then that gamblers flock here regularly to experience the adrenaline rush of professional greyhound racing, followed by a few hands of poker at the 65 year-old Daytona Beach Racing & Card Club.
Open daily from 10am until 4am, the 53,000 square foot, LEED Gold-Certified entertainment complex features a full gambling floor where gamblers can place their bets on greyhound and horse racing through simulcast wagering, enjoying all of the action on wall-to-wall flat screen TVs.
It’s the poker room that will have casino fans most interested, with a luxurious and ornately-styled space dedicated to regular tournaments and even a stop on the Heartland Poker Tour. Over 55 tables, guests can enjoy a variety of poker variants suitable for all budgets, including Texas Hold ‘Em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Seven Card Stud. There’s also a full bar and restaurant on site, so you can grab a bite and a few beers as you watch each race or deal yourself in.
Seminole Hard Rock Casino, Tampa
The Hard Rock Café first opened its doors in London in 1971. During the 90s this iconic chain expanded to Vegas, with the $80 million Hard Rock Hotel welcoming visitors to its lavish collections of memorabilia and branded gaming. Gamblers can enjoy the same prestige and pleasure on a trip to Tampa, courtesy of the Seminole tribe’s partnership casino with the Hard Rock brand. Along with luxurious hotel rooms and suites, alongside the brilliant themed on-site bars and restaurants that Hard Rock is known for, there is of course a superb gaming floor, with 46 tables dealing in the action, and a selection of slot and video machines.
Visitors can get stuck into Texas Hold ‘Em, Blackjack, Mississippi Stud, Spanish 21 and Baccarat, and regular tournaments attract the best players in the Sunshine State. High rollers can reserve their own private space to play without the crowds getting in the way, and there’s also a unique social casino designed for players who are more about the drinking, dancing and fun than taking it too seriously at the tables. And if everything gets a bit too much, soak and relax with a treatment at the Rock Spa and salon.
The highlight of a visit has to be Jubao Palace – not only where they serve up some Asian-style games including Pai Gow, but some excellent food too at the noodle bar.
Seminole Casino, Brighton
The Seminole Casino at Brighton is one of the biggest and best entertainment complexes built on Native American land. Opened in 1980 by the Seminole tribe, it’s ideally located for visitors from popular Florida destinations like Tampa and Orlando. Amid the bright lights and cool customers here you’ll find more than 400 of the latest and greatest slot machines spread across 27,000 square feet of fun.
The best action however is found on the main gaming floor, where scores are settled on the turn of a card in Blackjack, Texas Hold ‘Em and other poker variants until the wee small hours. If The casino also runs promotions throughout the month, including prize draws, cash giveaways and of tons of free-play events.
As well as the great selection of table games and regular bingo, gamers can also enjoy great food and drinks at the on-site bar and Josiah restaurant, which serves up local cuisine along with food from all over the world.
Victory Casino Cruises, Port Canaveral
You don’t necessarily need to stay in the state to enjoy a great gambling experience, and sometimes the best chances to win can actually be found out at sea. Victory Casino Cruises takes advantage of the rule of maritime law by sailing 12 nautical miles out to sea, where it’s completely legal to gamble for as long as the ship stays out there! The cruise sets sail from Port Canaveral twice a day, seven days a week, giving customers a choice of five or six hours on the high seas to strike it big on a wide selection of table games and slots. It is highly recommended that you consult a few guides that will give you a good chance of success in the casino before jumping on board, you’ll soon know how to win at slots and your trip will be a profitable one.
Victory’s cruise ship has 4 decks, holding over 40,000 square feet of casino games, including an incredible 600 slot machines. Gamers can choose from 27 live casino games too, including Roulette, Craps, Blackjack and of course Poker, with professional dealers greeting guests and ensuring that everyone is having a great time. Guests also have the option to bet on a huge range of sports, including American Football, MMA, Baseball and Boxing, the only ‘casino’ in the state where this is possible. Grab some liquid refreshment at one of the 5 bars, and choose from a full a la carte menu, as well as some good old-fashioned burgers at either of the restaurants.
Forget that trip to Vegas and don’t even think about Atlantic City; everything you need is right here in Florida, and visitors can even get in on the action when they’re enjoying the Sunshine State. The next time you’re trying to think of a fun night out or a something different to do with your friends or partner, then why not check out some of Florida’s best casinos.