INTERNET CAFES BEWARE
24th June, 2011 at 03:13:46
Florida politician reintroduces anti-"sweepstakes" measure
Florida internet cafe owners offering "sweepstakes" style online gambling are again under threat following the reintroduction of legislation designed to outlaw the use of simulated gambling devices in Internet cafes and arcades, reports TC Palm.
Republican state representative Scott Plakon has reintroduced his measure targeting the pastime, which died in a recent session of the state legislature when state Senator Nancy Detert put all proposals regulating gambling in limbo pending a study by her staff this summer.
"I think there is a greater awareness among legislators as to the problems with simulated gambling devices," Plakon said. "I am hoping we will receive a warmer reception in the next legislature."
Plakon said he expects a long list of individuals and organisations to testify on behalf of his proposal during legislative committee hearings. These include the Florida Sheriff's Association, the Florida Chiefs of Police Association, the State Prosecutors Association and the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is also expected to support the bill.
"Commissioner of Agriculture and Community Services Adam Putnam has also said he thinks the Florida law covering arcades and cafes needs to be clarified," Plakon said.
In a statement earlier this year, Putnam claimed that state law is so vague that sheriffs and other law enforcement agencies have problems determining what is legal and what is illegal under its provisions, making enforcement and prosecution difficult.
Proponents of internet gaming claim that internet cafes sell Internet time and give away free chances to win a cash prize through a sweepstakes process. Winners are predetermined and no element of chance is involved, they assert.
The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling is concerned at the proliferation of internet cafes offering this form of entertainment, claiming that the number of Internet cafe or arcade-style locations has increased from around 600 in 2005 to more than 1,400 in 2010.
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