Posts Tagged ‘849.085’


Gambling Operations: Penny-Ante Games–Part 3

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

This is Part 3 in a five-part series devoted to gambling laws in Florida.

As we discussed in Part 2 (dealing with Bingo), because the gambling statute was written so broadly, the legislature, over the years, has created certain exceptions to gambling.  Bingo was one such exception.  Another exception is certain penny-ante games.

Penny-Ante Games

The penny-ante game exception can be found at 849.085.  The penny-ante exception was created in 1989 and was last revised in 2001.  Don’t know what a penny-ante game is?  Here’s how the law defines it:

“Penny-ante game” means a game or series of games of poker, pinochle, bridge, rummy, canasta, hearts, dominoes, or mah-jongg in which the winnings of any player in a certain round, hand, or game do not exceed $10 in value.

Restrictions on Penny-Ante Games

The law places five restrictions on penny-ante games.  It is not a crime to participate in a penny-ante game if such game is conducted strictly in accordance with this law.

1.  The game must be conducted in a dwelling.

2.  A person may not receive any consideration or commission for allowing a penny-ante game to occur in his or her dwelling.

3.  A person may not directly or indirectly charge admission or any other fee for participation in the game.

4.  A person may not solicit participants by means of advertising in any form, advertise the time or place of any penny-ante game, or advertise the fact that he or she will be a participant in any penny-ante game.

5. A penny-ante game may not be conducted in which any participant is under 18 years of age.

Interestingly, a debt created or owed as a consequence of any penny-ante game is not legally enforceable.  Also of interest, the penny-ante statute does not mention criminal punishment (i.e., whether the crime is a felony or misdemeanor).

(Disclaimer: This post does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.)