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Internet ban, in limbo in Senate, on its way to House floor with blessing of Gov. Scott and Cabinet

by Dara Kam | February 1st, 2012

Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet are putting pressure on lawmakers to approve an all-out ban on Internet cafés now on its way to the House floor but facing a doubtful future in the Senate.

The House Economic Affairs Committee approved the bill (HB 3) this morning, drawing the praise of the Republican governor and Cabinet who want the so-called “casinos on the corner” shuttered.

Critics of the cafés, an estimated $1 billion industry which operates under state “sweepstakes” laws and are largely unregulated, say they prey on the state’s poor and vulnerable. But the café operators say they provide good jobs for their employees and a place to socialize for seniors and others.

Scott believes the store-front casinos found in strip malls throughout the state are already illegal but wants lawmakers to officially ban them.

“These store front casinos are impacting Florida’s neighborhoods and families,” said Governor Scott. “They are and should be illegal. Representative Plakon’s bill closes this loophole and I commend his dedication to shutting down these establishments,” Scott said in a statement released by Rep. Scott Plakon, the Longwood Republican who’s sponsored the bill.

Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam joined in the chorus demanding the shut-down.

But the Senate is moving forward with a separate measure that would regulate the cafés and impose a $100 fee per computer terminal for operators. Estimates of the number of cafés in the state range from 800 to 1,400 but all agree they have mushroomed in the past few years. Palm Beach County commissioners recently barred new cafés from opening in unincorporated areas.

The Senate Regulated Industries Committee approved a regulation measure and set aside a bill that would make the cafés illegal.

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3 Responses to “Internet ban, in limbo in Senate, on its way to House floor with blessing of Gov. Scott and Cabinet”

  1. Randy Smith Says:

    Don’t close 1000 businesses employing 13000 people that have been legal so far. Like any new industry it needs attention and regulation from lawmakers but banning and uprooting because lawmakers can’t get grip with todays world of internet age is not progressive. We live in a world of online poker and hacking banning and shutting everything including internet is a sign lawmakers are not ready to embrace and deal with the reality and growth of new technologies and industry.

  2. RENEGADE Says:

    What happened to the constant Republican chorus about less gov’t regulation, less intrusion into our lives and smaller gov’t?????
    Like always its say one thing but doing something completely different.

  3. Downtown Danny Says:

    MORE GOVERNMENT FROM REPUBLICANS!
    Republican liars – the next time you ehar them lying about wanting less government consider –
    Republicans want government in every womans life stopping her from going to the doctor on her own for an abortion, they stopped 3 – $2 billion casino projects from coming to Florida that would have provided over 100,000 jobs, they refuse to tax & legalize pot or prostitution even though you can buy pot in any town in America and find escorts in every yellow pages in America, they demand every bar in Florida close at 2am or 4 am and push their sleeping habits on everyone often saying things like “there’s no reason to be out after 2AM”, they now want to demand all students pray at school & football games, and they do this while blaming Obama & Democrats for not giving us less government!
    How long will Americans be fooled by the Republican liars?
    Not any longer!

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