Florida is not just for sun searching tourists, laid back locals and retirees, there’s so much more to the Sunshine State than Disney World and commercialism. Florida is also one of the best places to gamble outside the bright lights of Las Vegas. Florida offers a huge variety of land-based and cruising casinos, with plenty of race books, slot machines and table games available. Florida is the second home for many top gamblers and the first home for many professional poker players, including millionaire superstars Jason Mercier and Michael D. Mizrachi.
Commercial casinos are not legal here, but casinos on the water and land-based casinos that operate within the tribal gaming laws are. Race tracks are also legal and provide one of the best options for people looking for some excitement. Florida dog racing is renowned all over the country and there are also horse racing events and race books throughout the state. If you’ve never bet on the dogs or the horses before, then don’t worry, many of the race books here are just as professional as the rest of the casino and the process is fairly simple. There is no intimidating atmosphere and there will be staff on hand to help you out. The process is also pretty self explanatory and the thrill of betting on a greyhound race or a horse race is unmatched, even by the slot machines and poker tables on the casino floor.
If you want to gamble whilst you enjoy the sights of this great coastal state, then a casino cruise is the best way to do it. These cruises take place on large yachts —often with two or more floors —that come equipped with all the basic amenities, along with slot machines, table games, a restaurant and a bar. They set sail from all along the coast and the journey typically lasts from 3 to 6 hours. You don’t have to gamble throughout your journey and many travelers prefer simply to sit on the deck and relax with a drink as they watch the Florida shore stretch across the horizon like a colorful canvas. These cruises are recommend to both tourists and, along with the greyhound races, are often touted as an unmissable experience when visiting Florida.
Some of the most popular cruises leave from Miami. The Carnival Cruise line operate one of the biggest franchises here and have a large number of ships leaving at regular intervals, so you don’t even need to book in advance and can probably get onboard if you show up on the day. If not, there are plenty of other options nearby, with many ships from Celebrity Cruises also departing in the area. Costa Cruises are one of the most popular providers of casino cruises in Florida. Their ships, including the Costa Allegra, Costa Atlantica and the Casino Fortuna, depart out of Hollywood, FL. Depending on the size of the ship, there can be as many as 160 slot machines onboard, along with nearly 2 dozen table games to play poker, blackjack or roulette.
The Deuces Wild Casino and Sports Bar Gambling Cruise Ship offers exactly what its name suggests. Here you can play on 25 different poker tables, with a wide variety of games and stakes available, and you can also watch the latest football, baseball, hockey and basketball games in the bar as you enjoy a few drinks with the locals.
If you prefer to stay on dry land then the Seminole casinos are some of the biggest and best casinos in the state. These casinos don’t offer race books or sports books, but they have a huge number of slot machines and table games available, along with plenty of promotions and special events. There are places to eat and drink inside the casinos and they are open and well ventilated places, a great way to get out of the scorching hot Florida sunshine.
If poker is your thing and the buzz of slot machines isn’t, then the Daytona Beach Kennel Club and Poker Room can provide you with a specialized atmosphere, a great place to toss some chips and watch some greyhound races. There are 16 table games available and plenty to see and do, but the casino is more popular with locals than with tourists and may not provide the hospitality that other, larger casinos do. Derby Lane, located in Saint Petersburg, Florida, is also a great and specialized location for poker and racing fans, and the Ebro Greyhound Track offers some of the fastest and most thrilling racing experiences in the state.
The list of casinos, cruises and race books are endless and growing year on year. Florida may not be Vegas, but if you want a holiday that includes beautiful beaches, beautiful people and beautiful places with high-stakes gambling, intense poker action and thrilling dog and horse racing, then Florida is the place to be