2004 Florida Statutes
(1) LEGISLATIVE INTENT.--It is the intent of the Legislature to provide additional entertainment choices for the residents of and visitors to the state, promote tourism in the state, and provide additional state revenues through the authorization of the playing of certain games in the state at facilities known as cardrooms which are to be located at licensed pari-mutuel facilities. To ensure the public confidence in the integrity of authorized cardroom operations, this act is designed to strictly regulate the facilities, persons, and procedures related to cardroom operations. Furthermore, the Legislature finds that authorized games as herein defined are considered to be pari-mutuel style games and not casino gaming because the participants play against each other instead of against the house.
(2) DEFINITIONS.--As used in this section:
(a) "Authorized game" means a game or series of games of poker which are played in a nonbanking manner.
(b) "Banking game" means a game in which the house is a participant in the game, taking on players, paying winners, and collecting from losers or in which the cardroom establishes a bank against which participants play.
(c) "Cardroom" means a facility where authorized card games are played for money or anything of value and to which the public is invited to participate in such games and charged a fee for participation by the operator of such facility. Authorized games and cardrooms do not constitute casino gaming operations.
(d) "Cardroom management company" means any individual not an employee of the cardroom operator, any proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or other entity that enters into an agreement with a cardroom operator to manage, operate, or otherwise control the daily operation of a cardroom.
(e) "Cardroom distributor" means any business that distributes cardroom paraphernalia such as card tables, betting chips, chip holders, drop boxes, banking supplies, playing cards, card shufflers, and other associated equipment to authorized cardrooms.
(f) "Cardroom operator" means a licensed pari-mutuel permitholder which holds a valid permit and license issued by the division pursuant to chapter 550 and which also holds a valid cardroom license issued by the division pursuant to this section which authorizes such person to operate a cardroom and to conduct authorized games in such cardroom.
(g) "Division" means the Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
(h) "Gross receipts" means the total amount of money received by a cardroom from any person for participation in authorized games.
(i) "House" means the cardroom operator and all employees of the cardroom operator.
(j) "Net proceeds" means the total amount of gross receipts received by a cardroom operator from cardroom operations less direct operating expenses related to cardroom operations, including labor costs, admission taxes only if a separate admission fee is charged for entry to the cardroom facility, gross receipts taxes imposed on cardroom operators by this section, the annual cardroom license fees imposed by this section on each table operated at a cardroom, and reasonable promotional costs excluding officer and director compensation, interest on capital debt, legal fees, real estate taxes, bad debts, contributions or donations, or overhead and depreciation expenses not directly related to the operation of the cardrooms.
(k) "Rake" means a set fee or percentage of the pot assessed by a cardroom operator for providing the services of a dealer, table, or location for playing the authorized game.
(3) CARDROOM AUTHORIZED.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, it is not a crime for a person to participate in an authorized game at a licensed cardroom or to operate a cardroom described in this section if such game and cardroom operation are conducted strictly in accordance with the provisions of this section.
(4) AUTHORITY OF DIVISION.--The Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation shall administer this section and regulate the operation of cardrooms under this section and the rules adopted pursuant thereto, and is hereby authorized to:
(a) Adopt rules, including, but not limited to: the issuance of cardroom and employee licenses for cardroom operations; the operation of a cardroom; recordkeeping and reporting requirements; and the collection of all fees and taxes imposed by this section.
(b) Conduct investigations and monitor the operation of cardrooms and the playing of authorized games therein.
(c) Review the books, accounts, and records of any current or former cardroom operator.
(d) Suspend or revoke any license or permit, after hearing, for any violation of the provisions of this section or the administrative rules adopted pursuant thereto.
(e) Take testimony, issue summons and subpoenas for any witness, and issue subpoenas duces tecum in connection with any matter within its jurisdiction.
(f) Monitor and ensure the proper collection of taxes and fees imposed by this section. Permitholder internal controls are mandated to ensure no compromise of state funds. To that end, a roaming division auditor will monitor and verify the cash flow and accounting of cardroom revenue for any given operating day.
(5) LICENSE REQUIRED; APPLICATION; FEES.--No person may operate a cardroom in this state unless such person holds a valid cardroom license issued pursuant to this section.
(a) Only those persons holding a valid cardroom license issued by the division may operate a cardroom. A cardroom license may only be issued to a licensed pari-mutuel permitholder and an authorized cardroom may only be operated at the same facility at which the permitholder is authorized under its valid pari-mutuel wagering permit to conduct pari-mutuel wagering activities. Cardroom licenses are not transferable.
(b) After the initial cardroom license is granted, the application for the annual license renewal shall be made in conjunction with the applicant's annual application for its pari-mutuel license. If a permitholder has operated a cardroom during any of the 3 previous fiscal years and fails to include a renewal request for the operation of the cardroom in its annual application for license renewal, the permitholder may amend its annual application to include operation of the cardroom. In order for a cardroom license to be renewed the applicant must have requested, as part of its pari-mutuel annual license application, to conduct at least 90 percent of the total number of live performances conducted by such permitholder during either the state fiscal year in which its initial cardroom license was issued or the state fiscal year immediately prior thereto. If the application is for a harness permitholder cardroom, the applicant must have requested authorization to conduct a minimum of 140 live performances during the state fiscal year immediately prior thereto. If more than one permitholder is operating at a facility, each permitholder must have applied for a license to conduct a full schedule of live racing.
(c) Persons seeking a license or a renewal thereof to operate a cardroom shall make application on forms prescribed by the division. Applications for cardroom licenses shall contain all of the information the division, by rule, may determine is required to ensure eligibility.
(d) The annual cardroom license fee for each facility shall be $1,000 for the first table and $500 for each additional table to be operated at the cardroom. This license fee shall be deposited by the division with the Chief Financial Officer to the credit of the Pari-mutuel Wagering Trust Fund.
(6) BUSINESS AND EMPLOYEE OCCUPATIONAL LICENSE REQUIRED; APPLICATION; FEES.--
(a) A person employed or otherwise working in a cardroom as a cardroom manager, floor supervisor, pit boss, dealer, or any other activity related to cardroom operations while the facility is conducting card playing must hold a valid cardroom employee occupational license issued by the division. Food service, maintenance, and security employees with a current pari-mutuel occupational license and a current background check will not be required to have a cardroom employee occupational license.
(b) Any cardroom management company or cardroom distributor associated with cardroom operations must hold a valid cardroom business occupational license issued by the division.
(c) No licensed cardroom operator may employ or allow to work in a cardroom any person unless such person holds a valid occupational license. No licensed cardroom operator may contract, or otherwise do business with, a business required to hold a valid cardroom business occupational license, unless the business holds such a valid license.
(d) The division shall establish, by rule, a schedule for the annual renewal of cardroom occupational licenses. Cardroom occupational licenses are not transferable.
(e) Persons seeking cardroom occupational licenses, or renewal thereof, shall make application on forms prescribed by the division. Applications for cardroom occupational licenses shall contain all of the information the division, by rule, may determine is required to ensure eligibility.
(f) The division shall promulgate rules regarding cardroom occupational licenses. The provisions specified in s. 550.105(4), (5), (6), (7), (8), and (10) relating to licensure shall be applicable to cardroom occupational licenses.
(g) The division may deny, declare ineligible, or revoke any cardroom occupational license if the applicant or holder thereof has been found guilty or had adjudication withheld in this state or any other state, or under the laws of the United States of a felony or misdemeanor involving forgery, larceny, extortion, conspiracy to defraud, or filing false reports to a government agency, racing or gaming commission or authority.
(h) Fingerprints for all cardroom occupational license applications shall be taken in a manner approved by the division and then shall be submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a criminal records check upon initial application and every 5 years thereafter. The division may by rule require an annual record check of all renewal applications for a cardroom occupational license. The cost of processing fingerprints and conducting a record check shall be borne by the applicant.
(i) The cardroom employee occupational license fee shall be $50. The cardroom business occupational license fee shall be $250.
(7) CONDITIONS FOR OPERATING A CARDROOM.--
(a) A cardroom may be operated only at the location specified on the cardroom license issued by the division, and such location may only be the location at which the pari-mutuel permitholder is authorized to conduct pari-mutuel wagering activities pursuant to such permitholder's valid pari-mutuel permit or as otherwise authorized by law.
(b) A cardroom may be operated at the facility only when the facility is authorized to accept wagers on pari-mutuel events during its authorized meet. A cardroom may operate between the hours of 12 noon and 12 midnight on any day a pari-mutuel event is conducted live as a part of its authorized meet. However, a permitholder who holds a valid cardroom license may operate a cardroom between the hours of 12 noon and 12 midnight on any day that live racing of the same class of permit is occurring within 35 miles of its facility if no other holder of that same class of permit within 35 miles is operating a cardroom at such time and if all holders of the same class of permit within the 35-mile area have given their permission in writing to the permitholder to operate the cardroom during the designated period. Application to operate a cardroom under this paragraph must be made to the division as part of the annual license application.
(c) A cardroom operator must at all times employ and provide a nonplaying dealer for each table on which authorized card games which traditionally utilize a dealer are conducted at the cardroom. Such dealers may not have any participatory interest in any game other than the dealing of cards and may not have an interest in the outcome of the game. The providing of such dealers by a licensee shall not be construed as constituting the conducting of a banking game by the cardroom operator.
(d) Each cardroom operator shall conspicuously post upon the premises of the cardroom a notice which contains a copy of the cardroom license; a list of authorized games offered by the cardroom; the wagering limits imposed by the house, if any; any additional house rules regarding operation of the cardroom or the playing of any game; and all costs to players to participate, including any rake by the house. In addition, each cardroom operator shall post at each table a notice of the minimum and maximum bets authorized at such table and the fee for participation in the game conducted.
(e) The cardroom facility shall be subject to inspection by the division or any law enforcement agency during the licensee's regular business hours. The inspection will specifically encompass the permitholder internal control procedures approved by the division.
(f) A cardroom operator may refuse entry to or refuse to allow to play any person who is objectionable, undesirable, or disruptive, but such refusal shall not be on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, physical handicap, or age, except as provided in this section.
(8) METHOD OF WAGERS; LIMITATION.--
(a) No wagering may be conducted using money or other negotiable currency. Games may only be played utilizing a wagering system whereby all players' money is first converted by the house to tokens or chips which shall be used for wagering only at that specific cardroom.
(b) The cardroom operator may limit the amount wagered in any game or series of games, but the maximum bet may not exceed $2 in value. There may not be more than three raises in any round of betting. The fee charged by the cardroom for participation in the game shall not be included in the calculation of the limitation on the bet amount provided in this paragraph.
(9) BOND REQUIRED.--The holder of a cardroom license shall be financially and otherwise responsible for the operation of the cardroom and for the conduct of any manager, dealer, or other employee involved in the operation of the cardroom. Prior to the issuance of a cardroom license, each applicant for such license shall provide evidence of a surety bond in the amount of $50,000, payable to the state, furnished by a corporate surety authorized to do business in the state or evidence that the licensee's pari-mutuel bond required by s. 550.125 has been expanded to include the applicant's cardroom operation. The bond shall guarantee that the cardroom operator will redeem, for cash, all tokens or chips used in games. Such bond shall be kept in full force and effect by the operator during the term of the license.
(10) FEE FOR PARTICIPATION.--The cardroom operator may charge a fee for the right to participate in games conducted at the cardroom. Such fee may be either a flat fee or hourly rate for the use of a seat at a table or a rake subject to the posted maximum amount but may not be based on the amount won by players. The rake-off, if any, must be made in an obvious manner and placed in a designated rake area which is clearly visible to all players. Notice of the amount of the participation fee charged shall be posted in a conspicuous place in the cardroom and at each table at all times.
(11) RECORDS AND REPORTS.--
(a) Each licensee operating a cardroom shall keep and maintain permanent daily records of its cardroom operation and shall maintain such records for a period of not less than 3 years. These records shall include all financial transactions and contain sufficient detail to determine compliance with the requirements of this section. All records shall be available for audit and inspection by the division or other law enforcement agencies during the licensee's regular business hours. The information required in such records shall be determined by division rule.
(b) Each licensee operating a cardroom shall file with the division a report containing the required records of such cardroom operation. Such report shall be filed monthly by licensees. The required reports shall be submitted on forms prescribed by the division and shall be due at the same time as the monthly pari-mutuel reports are due to the division, and such reports shall contain any additional information deemed necessary by the division, and the reports shall be deemed public records once filed.
(12) PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES.--
(a) No person licensed to operate a cardroom may conduct any banking game or any game not specifically authorized by this section.
(b) No person under 18 years of age may be permitted to hold a cardroom or employee license, or engage in any game conducted therein.
(c) No electronic or mechanical devices, except mechanical card shufflers, may be used to conduct any authorized game in a cardroom.
(d) No cards, game components, or game implements may be used in playing an authorized game unless such has been furnished or provided to the players by the cardroom operator.
(13) TAXES AND OTHER PAYMENTS.--
(a) Each cardroom operator shall pay a tax to the state of 10 percent of the cardroom operation's monthly gross receipts.
(b) An admission tax equal to 15 percent of the admission charge for entrance to the licensee's cardroom facility, or 10 cents, whichever is greater, is imposed on each person entering the cardroom. This admission tax shall apply only if a separate admission fee is charged for entry to the cardroom facility. If a single admission fee is charged which authorizes entry to both or either the pari-mutuel facility and the cardroom facility, the admission tax shall be payable only once and shall be payable pursuant to chapter 550. The cardroom licensee shall be responsible for collecting the admission tax. An admission tax is imposed on any free passes or complimentary cards issued to guests by licensees in an amount equal to the tax imposed on the regular and usual admission charge for entrance to the licensee's cardroom facility. A cardroom licensee may issue tax-free passes to its officers, officials, and employees or other persons actually engaged in working at the cardroom, including accredited press representatives such as reporters and editors, and may also issue tax-free passes to other cardroom licensees for the use of their officers and officials. The licensee shall file with the division a list of all persons to whom tax-free passes are issued.
(c) Payment of the admission tax and gross receipts tax imposed by this section shall be paid to the division. The division shall deposit these sums with the Chief Financial Officer, one-half being credited to the Pari-mutuel Wagering Trust Fund and one-half being credited to the General Revenue Fund. The cardroom licensee shall remit to the division payment for the admission tax, the gross receipts tax, and the licensee fees. Such payments shall be remitted to the division on the fifth day of each calendar month for taxes and fees imposed for the preceding month's cardroom activities. Licensees shall file a report under oath by the fifth day of each calendar month for all taxes remitted during the preceding calendar month. Such report shall, under oath, indicate the total of all admissions, the cardroom activities for the preceding calendar month, and such other information as may be prescribed by the division.
(d) Each greyhound and jai alai permitholder that operates a cardroom facility shall use at least 4 percent of such permitholder's cardroom monthly gross receipts to supplement greyhound purses or jai alai prize money, respectively, during the permitholder's next ensuing pari-mutuel meet. Each thoroughbred and harness horse racing permitholder that operates a cardroom facility shall use at least 50 percent of such permitholder's cardroom monthly net proceeds as follows: 47 percent to supplement purses and 3 percent to supplement breeders' awards during the permitholder's next ensuing racing meet.
(e) The failure of any licensee to make payments as prescribed in paragraph (c) is a violation of this section, and the licensee may be subjected by the division to a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each day the tax payment is not remitted. All penalties imposed and collected shall be deposited in the General Revenue Fund. If a licensee fails to pay penalties imposed by order of the division under this subsection, the division may suspend or revoke the license of the cardroom operator or deny issuance of any further license to the cardroom operator.
(f) The cardroom shall be deemed an accessory use to a licensed pari-mutuel operation and, except as provided in chapter 550, a municipality, county, or political subdivision may not assess or collect any additional license tax, sales tax, or excise tax on such cardroom operation.
(g) All of the moneys deposited in the Pari-mutuel Wagering Trust Fund, except as set forth in paragraph (h), shall be utilized and distributed in the manner specified in s. 550.135(1) and (2). However, cardroom tax revenues shall be kept separate from pari-mutuel tax revenues and shall not be used for making the disbursement to counties provided in former s. 550.135(1).
(h) One-quarter of the moneys deposited into the Pari-mutuel Wagering Trust Fund pursuant to paragraph (g) shall, by October 1 of each year, be distributed to counties in which the cardrooms are located; however, if two or more pari-mutuel racetracks are located within the same incorporated municipality, the cardroom funds shall be distributed to the municipality. If a pari-mutuel facility is situated in such a manner that it is located in more than one county, the site of the cardroom facility shall determine the location for purposes of disbursement of tax revenues under this paragraph. The division shall, by September 1 of each year, determine: the amount of taxes deposited into the Pari-mutuel Wagering Trust Fund pursuant to this section from each cardroom licensee; the location by county of each cardroom; whether the cardroom is located in the unincorporated area of the county or within an incorporated municipality; and, the total amount to be distributed to each eligible county and municipality.
(14) SUSPENSION, REVOCATION, OR DENIAL OF LICENSE; FINE.--
(a) The division may deny a license or the renewal thereof, or may suspend or revoke any license, when the applicant has: violated or failed to comply with the provisions of this section or any rules adopted pursuant thereto; knowingly caused, aided, abetted, or conspired with another to cause any person to violate this section or any rules adopted pursuant thereto; or obtained a license or permit by fraud, misrepresentation, or concealment; or if the holder of such license or permit is no longer eligible under this section.
(b) If a pari-mutuel permitholder's pari-mutuel permit or license is suspended or revoked by the division pursuant to chapter 550, the division may, but is not required to, suspend or revoke such permitholder's cardroom license. If a cardroom operator's license is suspended or revoked pursuant to this section, the division may, but is not required to, suspend or revoke such licensee's pari-mutuel permit or license.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the division may impose an administrative fine not to exceed $1,000 for each violation against any person who has violated or failed to comply with the provisions of this section or any rules adopted pursuant thereto.
(15) CRIMINAL PENALTY; INJUNCTION.--
(a)1. Any person who operates a cardroom without a valid license issued as provided in this section commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084
2. Any licensee or permitholder who violates any provision of this section commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083 Any licensee or permitholder who commits a second or subsequent violation of the same paragraph or subsection within a period of 3 years from the date of a prior conviction for a violation of such paragraph or subsection commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084
(b) The division, any state attorney, the statewide prosecutor, or the Attorney General may apply for a temporary or permanent injunction restraining further violation of this section, and such injunction shall issue without bond.
(16) COUNTY COMMISSION APPROVAL.--The Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering shall not issue any license under this section except upon proof in such form as the division may prescribe that a majority of the county commissioners in the county where the applicant for such license desires to conduct cardroom gaming has voted to approve such activity within the county.
(17) CHANGE OF LOCATION; REFERENDUM.--
(a) Notwithstanding any provisions of this section, no cardroom gaming license issued under this section shall be transferred, or reissued when such reissuance is in the nature of a transfer, so as to permit or authorize a licensee to change the location of the cardroom except upon proof in such form as the division may prescribe that a referendum election has been held:
1. If the proposed new location is within the same county as the already licensed location, in the county where the licensee desires to conduct cardroom gaming and that a majority of the electors voting on the question in such election voted in favor of the transfer of such license.
2. If the proposed new location is not within the same county as the already licensed location, in the county where the licensee desires to conduct cardroom gaming and that a majority of the electors voting on that question in each such election voted in favor of the transfer of such license.
(b) The expense of each referendum held under the provisions of this subsection shall be borne by the licensee requesting the transfer.
History.--s. 20, ch. 96-364; s. 26, ch. 2001-64; s. 1913, ch. 2003-261; s. 4, ch. 2003-295.