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Florida House tees up Internet cafe ban

by Dara Kam | March 21st, 2013

The Florida House will vote tomorrow on an effort to shut down storefront gaming centers many lawmakers believe are actually illegal gambling houses.

The bill (HB 155) is on the fast-track after a multi-state sting resulted in 57 arrests and prompted Jennifer Carroll to resign as lieutenant governor. Authorities accused Allied Veterans of the World, a charitable organization Carroll consulted for while a state representative, of racketeering and money laundering charges associated with operating a $300 million illegal gambling ring.

Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek, raised questions about the bill’s impact on “senior arcades,” adult amusement centers that are authorized under a different statute than Internet cafes, which operate under Florida law regarding “sweepstakes.”

The measure would ban arcades from giving away gift cards and prohibit the accumulation of points, thereby limiting prizes to 75 cents per game. Also at issue is whether the arcade games are “games of skill” or “games of chance,” which are prohibited.

Rep. Carlos Trujillo, the bill sponsor, said his bill won’t affect amusement arcades such as Chuck e. Cheese because those games involve skill while the adult arcade games resemble slot machines. The images move far too quickly for the naked eye to be able to skilfully stop them for a win, Trujillo said.

And Democrats argued that shuttering the arcades will put thousands of people out of work.

But Trujillo said that the jobs are part of an already illegal industry.

“I think it would cost the same amount of jobs if we came up here and said that marijuana dealers can no longer operate,” Trujillo, R-Miami, said.

The Senate could vote on its version of the ban as early as next week.

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6 Responses to “Florida House tees up Internet cafe ban”

  1. Thomas Says:

    The arcades, internet cafe’s, whatever you call them, are gambling. I have frequented these places in the past and find no difference other than setting, between these games and slots run by the Indians. These are unregulated forms of gambling, which allow owners to rip off the older patrons at alarming rates. Closing them would be a service long overdue.

  2. donald mckay Says:

    you are so off base here. these older patrons love these rooms. i very seldom have a customer put on more than 20 dollars . some times they play for hours, and still take their money back with them. but you will see that for yourselfs tomorrow 3/22/13 at our rally on us 19 in spring hill. show up you will learn how many people in spring hill want them. does any one relise just how much money is put back in the community, almost every penny. at sams club, at w.r.e.c. company ,in rent payments, in payroll, in taxes.

  3. Leah Says:

    U r off base these places great seniors like family. It’s a place for them to go and socialize something u know nothing about

  4. Cindy Says:

    The seniors that play in these arcades do not spend as much as if they were to attend a casino operated by the Seminoles. Both establishments pay their taxes, employ residents, and create fun for many. I just hope if these are forced to close, that the lottery is closed and the casinos are also closed. After all, they could be categorized as the same type of amusement.

  5. Tony Aquilina Says:

    We go to them it’s a form of entertainment. This is a good example of govt.trying to run our lifes. It employs a lot of young adults. I guess the govt. would like us to go to the large casinos where we can lose a lot of money. I wonder if the casino owners are behind the push to close them up.

  6. Dianna Says:

    The state has caused more damage than they realize to the poor seniors that are lonely and have nothing to do or nowhere to go. It was a cheap form of entertainment for them. Now the closing has caused a lot of people to feel the pangs of depression and loneliness. How dare y0u tell us what we can or cannot do with our money? You have allowed the Indians a monopoly on gambling in Florida and it’s only a matter of whose hand is being greased as to what decisions are made. As far as I am concerned there were probably so many politicians with their hand in the jar and they needed to cover up what they were receiving in campaign contributions. How else could they pass a piece of legislation so quickly unless they were somehow involved and had something to hide. Look how they protected Ms. Carrol and how they shoved that under the rug never to be heard about again.. Funny huh??? Please re-open these cafes and let us live our lives. You politicians are nothing but a bunch of underhanded, lying, cheating SOB’s!

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