In Florida, it is illegal to have gambling operations that reward customers with cash, alcohol or cigarettes. Violation of the Florida gambling laws can subject an offender to administrative penalties (such as the loss of a business license and/or licenses to sell alcohol and tobacco) and criminal penalties as well as seizure and forfeiture of gambling apparatus and proceeds from gambling activity.
Recently, the Division of Alcohol, Beverages and Tobacco (ATB), the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and the local police department jointly investigated suspected gambling operations in Port Charlotte, Florida, according to a news release on the DBPR website. Those law enforcement officials seized video gaming machines at local restaurants and bars and made several arrests for the crime of keeping a gambling house, which is a third degree felony.
Any person or business that keeps gambling machines that pay cash or allow the customer to exchange a ticket for cash, alcohol or tobacco may be subject to such an investigation and the corresponding penalties and seizures. These investigations typically begin with undercover law enforcement officers playing the games and receiving the cash, alcohol or tobacco rewards and usually end with a raid, arrests and the seizure of all gaming machines and whatever cash and proceeds law enforcement officials want to say are related to the gambling operations.