Florida has a variety of different alcohol beverage licenses. Most apply to specific establishments, such as a restaurant, hotel, or private club. Quota licenses are different, however. Quota licenses are issued by Florida’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (“DABT”) at a rate of one per 7,500 people in each Florida county pursuant to Florida Statute. DABT issues new quota licenses each year when population increase estimates warrant it or when a license as been revoked. While other licenses are limited by the physical premises or operations, these licenses are unrestricted and can be used by any establishment selling alcoholic beverages as long as local zoning permits it.
As with any lottery, the winning applications are picked at random. The application cost is $100 per person per application, and one person can only enter one time each year in each county. If you win, there is an additional cost of $10,000 for the license, but the market value for these highly desirable licenses could be $500,000. There is a penalty transfer fee of about $27,000 if the winner sells it within three years of winning, but there is no cap on the amount to which the winner can sell the license.
How it works
Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which includes the DABT, publishes updated notices about the lottery on its website and Facebook page. General information includes:
- The state opened its annual lottery on the third Monday of August for 45 days (in 2020, August 17 to September 30).
- Sometimes deadlines are extended, so check the website for updates.
- The application fee is $100 that is non-refundable.
- Applicants can only apply once per year in a county.
- Each county requires a separate application.
- Applicants can fill out an online form or mail it in.
An open secret
The nature of this lottery is such that there is little perceived interest by the general public. However, the number of applications is about 12,000 annually. While the numbers are going up, this is considerably fewer numbers than Floridians playing the lottery. This translates into a much higher chance of winning.
Those with questions about how to optimize their quota license (or any alcohol beverage license) can speak with an attorney specializing in handling this licensing here in Florida.