Florida Governor to Review Internet Café Ban

rick scottFlorida Governor Rick Scott will be reviewing HB155 after it made clearance in the state senate last week with the majority vote 36-4 for the new proposal. The new bill will ban gaming devices in the state and could potentially harm future online gambling options in Florida.

The state house approved the bill last week and then was cleared by the Senate Rules Panel, so now only the Governor’s signature is needed to finalize the changes.  The bill uses very open language to define a variety of electronic devices, including slot machine “look-a-like’s.”

The bill is not restricted to commercial facilities so this has many in the poker and casino community worried that online gambling will be affected. The Governor has promised that he will review the language of the new bill before signing.

Scott promised to review the bill thoroughly after Democratic Senate leaders stated a procedural delay would take place due to the speedy nature in which the proposed legislation was created and pushed forward. The delay was dropped due to the support of the bill.

The measure was definitely rushed and protests were made in its wake. The Florida Adult Arcade and Bingo Association protested the measure and even had a live protest with senior citizens in front of local Tallahassee arcades. The bill was also rushed forward in part, based on the Allied Veterans of the World scandal.

The Allied Veterans group reportedly used $300 million in donated funds to fill the group’s owner’s pockets. The group owns a large portion of the internet cafes in the state and they offered many gaming options, including slot games. The revenues were supposed to be sent to charities for veterans but a large portion was instead given to the owners of the group.

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