AARP Florida is partnering with the Florida Gaming Control Commission (FGCC) to educate consumers about the problems surrounding illegal gambling in Florida. Adult arcades, also sometimes simply referred to as internet cafés, continue to appear throughout the state, especially in and near communities with dense populations of retirees. These illicit gaming centers may appear innocuous at first glance, but if they offer slot machines or conduct other unregulated gaming activity, they are breaking state law, as are operators and customers of these illegal establishments.
Adult arcades offering illegal gambling provide zero consumer protections, no guarantee of fair play, and no recourse if an operator disappears with the customer’s money. Operating outside of Florida law, these unlawful and unregulated gaming establishments prey upon Florida’s vulnerable and aging adult populations, subjecting consumers to high risks of fraud, cheating, and theft.
AARP Florida and the FGCC are sharing the top five warning signs that a gaming operation is not regulated by the state:
- Devices appear to be slot machines at any facility outside of Miami-Dade or Broward County, or outside of facilities operated by certain Native American tribes on tribal land;
- Devices are missing a visible FGCC license or registration information;
- Devices are awarding cash prizes;
- Devices do not appear to have any oversight or regulation; and
- Facilities are offering sports betting.
“We know that illegal operations often seek to take advantage of our state’s most vulnerable consumers,” said Jeff Johnson, AARP Florida State Director. “AARP Florida is dedicated to sharing information and resources to prevent older adults from losing their hard-earned savings to adult arcades offering illegal gambling.”
“Every dollar wagered on illicit slot machines is revenue diverted from the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund, which finances education for the next generation in Florida,” said Lou Trombetta, Executive Director of FGCC.
“The FGCC will continue to work diligently to keep Florida communities safe from crime by curbing illegal gaming, and we appreciate the public's help in identifying suspected illegal gambling sites,” said Carl Herold, FGCC’s Director of Law Enforcement.
The FGCC is committed to shutting down illegal gambling facilities and pursuing criminal charges against their owners, not their patrons; however, they warn consumers that illegal gambling is a crime in Florida for both the operators of these arcades and for those who gamble in these establishments.
Slot machines are allowed in Florida in the following locations:
- Hard Rock Tampa
- Seminole Casino Brighton
- Seminole Casino Immokalee
- Seminole Casino Coconut Creek
- Seminole Classic Casino Hollywood
- Hard Rock Hollywood
- Miccosukee Casino & Resort, Miami
- Harrah’s Pompano Beach
- The Casino at Dania Beach
- The Big Easy Casino, Hallandale Beach
- Gulfstream Park Racing, Hallandale Beach
- Calder Casino, Miami Gardens
- Hialeah Park Casino
- Casino Miami
- Magic City Casino, Miami
Click here for an interactive map of legal gaming establishments
It is always safer to choose legal and regulated gambling establishments where consumers have regulatory protections and are not participating in illegal activity. If you suspect illegal gambling activity, please get in touch with local law enforcement, and file a complaint with the FGCC to start an investigation. File a complaint online or call (850) 880-3433.
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org, www.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.