UPDATE: Florida Court Rules Player Banked Card Rooms are Illegal

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the newly recognized issue of “player-banked” card games and specifically, how they clearly violate the exclusive agreement Florida has with the Seminole Tribe. About four years ago, gambling regulators authorized these player-banked games because they were playing against themselves, not the house. After closer examination, it became clear that the player wasn’t really a player and they games really were typical card games that are only allowed in tribal casinos. The issue was raised and now a judge has ruled the games are definitely illegal. Florida Politics reports:

Her order found that the games were too similar to blackjack, which is only offered at casinos run by the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Pari-mutuels, or horse and dog tracks, can and do offer card games in which people play against each other and not the “house.” These are known as “designated-player games.”

Regulators said card rooms offering such games were flouting state law by allowing third-party companies to buy their way into the games, using a worker to act as a virtual bank. Each designated player is “required to bring a minimum of $30,000 to each table, and takes no active role in the game,” Van Wyk’s order says. “(M)ysteriously, the same number of designated players walk through the door each morning as the designated-player tables (at) Jacksonville open.”

Van Wyk agreed the setup amounted to a sham, saying the “games cannot be allowed to continue to operate in the current manner.” But she ruled against the state’s contention that the paid designated players needed to have occupational licenses.

Regulators agreed “they essentially did nothing other than occupy a seat,” according to their filing. But they also said even if the “work” performed was negligible, they still needed to be licensed.

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