Sports gambling is illegal in Florida, as it is in almost all others states, but South Florida casinos still offer ways for those itching for NFL action.
Many offer contests where patrons pick the winners of NFL games, with weekly and season-long prizes. (What the heck, it gets you into the casino to take a shot with your picks and keeps you coming back to see if you have a shot at being the season-long winner.)
Among the options:
The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino begins a $400,000 Guarantee Pro Pick’em Football Challenge. Patrons can make daily selections at kiosks, choosing which teams will win each Sunday and Monday Night pro football game. The guest that selects the most correct teams each week will collect $5,000 free play. Weekly random Bonus Free Play drawings will be held each Tuesday and posted at the Player’s Club by 6 p.m. Prizes will be automatically loaded to the winners’ account and valid for seven days. The patrons with the most correct picks for the entire season will win $20,000 free play. Second place receives $10,000 free play, on down to $200 free play for those 20th through 50th.
Calder Casino gives away more than $1,200 in free play each week to the top 20 predictors. Those who finish in the top 100 will win a share of more than $10,000 in free play. Visitors can earn an extra round of predictions daily with 25 slot points.
Gulfstream Park offers a big prize — $500,000 — if someone has an exceptionally successful season. They must pick 201 games correctly for the big cash. Weekly winners are $500 for first, $350 for second, $200 for third and a $1,000 free play bonus for those who have a perfect week. But entry isn’t free. The contest is open only to those who earn at least five slot points.
Mardi Gras Casino gives away $1,500 a week in prizes, with winners announced on Tuesdays. If someone correctly picks at least 194 games for the season, the prize is $50,000. Prizes include $500 cash for top weekly score, $250 for second and $500 for lowest (getting that is more difficult than you might think).
Seminole Casino Coconut Creek also offers daily picks for Sunday and Monday games. Two hundred weekly random winners will win free play each week and the season long winner nets $10,000 cash.
Victory for racetrack card rooms
Looks like “designated player” poker games are here for a while longer.
In 2012, lawyers for racetrack casinos received approval from the state’s division of pari-mutuel wagering to operate “designated player” games such as Ultimate Texas Hold ‘em and Three-Card Poker. Then in December 2015 the state declared the games illegal, and a court case in early August supported the argument.
But Florida card rooms have just won the most recent point, as an administrative law judge on Aug. 27 ruled that the state of Florida was wrong to simply eliminate a rule it had approved years earlier.
Magic City Casino, The Casino @ Dania Beach and the West Palm Beach Kennel Club are South Florida card rooms with the games.
▪ Conjunto Progreso performs at 9 p.m. Saturday at Casino Miami. From 3 p.m. to midnight Sunday is the $20,000 Fall into Free Play Giveaway.
▪ Hialeah Park has regular poker tournaments at 6 p.m. Saturday and Sept. 17 (for $175), 7 p.m. Monday and Sept. 26 ($80) and 6 p.m. Wednesday and Sept. 28 ($105). Players can enter the big September tournament, which carries a $101,000 guarantee, at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Sept. 19-24. Survivors then play at noon Sept. 25. Entry is $155 and first place is guaranteed $35,000.
▪ Jai-alai returns Thursday at The Casino @ Dania Beach. Sessions are at 8 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays and 10 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays.
▪ The monthly Andy Slater “See You Later” Poker Tournament is at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek. The tournament carries a $20,000 guarantee for a $94 buy-in. There will be three special bounties for free entries into next month’s tournament as well as an Andy Slater bounty for $270 Coco Poker Open Mega Satellite Seat, plus $100 cash.
▪ Nick Moss, a Chicagoan who has the stamp of approval from Hall of Famer Buddy Guy, performs at 7 p.m. Tuesday as part of the September blues series at Mardi Gras Casino.
▪ A $40,000 Jackpot Party is at 7 p.m. Monday at the Seminole Hard Rock. Those who won a jackpot of $1,200 or more using a Seminole Wild Card throughout August receive an entry to the drawing.
Get daily gambling news at SouthFloridaGambling.com. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickSortal