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Florida Senate Moves Forward With Plan to Ban Sweepstakes Gambling

April 17th, 2013 by Site Admin

The Florida Senate’s Rules Committee has passed a bill earlier today that would ban internet cafes. The new legislation has been referred to the full Senate. The Senate could approve the bill by the end of the week. The new bill is very similar to a version that the House passed a week ago. Both bills would prohibit any business from operating an electronic slot machine that offers prizes worth over 75 cents. This limitation would force every internet café in the state to shut down.

Some retailers have circumvented the state’s gambling laws by providing electronic slot machines in their places of business. Lawmakers are working to eliminate various storefront gambling operations.

The issue was first raised over a year ago, but lawmakers have a higher sense of urgency after a recent scandal involving the Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll and a number of workers with the Allied Veteran Group. Carroll has since resigned from her position and nearly 60 other people were indicted.

Online gaming advocates are concerned that this new bill would deter Florida lawmakers from passing a future bill that would legalize online poker. The bill doesn’t specifically mention online gaming, but it broadly defines slot machines as any electronic device used for gambling purposes. Experts warn that this definition could be extended to cover computers and mobile devices accessing online gaming sites.

Senior groups are also opposed to the new bill. They have called for lobbyists to attend a protest in the state capital. They hope that they can encourage lawmakers to make an exception for arcades that are built specifically for their demographic.

 

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