Slot machine-like games outlawed after Scott signs Internet cafe banby Dara Kam | April 10th, 2013
Slot-like machines in storefront gaming centers became illegal today after Gov. Rick Scott quietly signed into law aimed at shutting down Internet cafes.
Scott signed the bill less than a month after state and federal authorities arrested 57 people in connection with Allied Veterans of the World, a St. Augustine-based non-profit accused of posing as a charity while running a $300 million illegal gambling ring.
The investigation also prompted Jennifer Carroll, Scott’s hand-picked running mate, to resign as lieutenant governor. Carroll had consulted for Allied Veterans while she was a member of the House.
Scott signed the bill (HB 155) without any fanfare and spoke with reporters shortly afterward, quickly shifting the conversation to a plug for his two legislative priorities.
“The House and the Senate did the right thing to crack down illegal gaming especially in light of the Allied Veterans multi-state criminal conspiracy. They did the right thing and now they can get back to working on my two priorities for the session, the $2,500 pay raise across the board for classroom teachers and eliminating the sales tax on manufacturing equipment so we have more jobs,” Scott said.
Lawmakers have not yet signed off on either of Scott’s legislative goals.
The new law could disrupt gambling at the senior arcades popular with the elderly in Palm Beach County because many of the machines at the centers would be outlawed.
Internet café and arcade operators say the ban could put up to 16,000 people out of work.
Scott, who campaigned on creating 700,000 jobs in seven years, called the ban “the right thing” and turned a question about the new law’s impact on workers into another plug for his priorities.
“I have a jobs agenda. Right now what the House and Senate need to be focused on is getting rid of the sales tax on manufacturing equipment. It will create more manufacturing jobs. We have less than half the number of manufacturing jobs per capita than the rest of the country,” Scott said. The tax break would eliminate sales tax on manufacturing equipment and is expected to eliminate nearly $60 million from the state treasury the first year it goes into effect and $115 million the following year. There is no estimate on how many jobs, if any, the tax break would create.