3/2/10 – Beating his federal political colleagues to the punch late last week, Florida Representative Joseph Abruzzo introduced a bill titled the Internet Poker Consumer Protection and Revenue Generation Act of 2010.
Florida has been examining the issue of online gambling, specifically poker, for some months (see previous InfoPowa reports) as a state body prepared a report for the legislature, but Abruzzo appears to have taken the initiative in an attempt to get the ball rolling and short-circuit the implementation of the UIGEA regulations scheduled for June 1st this year.
Abruzzo's legislative proposal suggests a fully regulated system of online gambling in the state, relying on a provision in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 that acknowledges and retains the right of individual states to legalise online gambling within their boundaries.
The new bill proposes strict regulatory measures with which operators will have to comply. These include rigorous licensing conditions and an application fee of $500 000 payable to the Pari-Mutuel Wagering Trust Fund of the Department of Business and Professional Regulations in Florida.
A $1 000 annual licence fee and tax provisions are also envisaged, along with strict operating requirements concerning vulnerable and underaged gamblers and precautions against the involvement of crime and the prevention of money laundering. Gamblers aged 21 years or over will only be accepted, and limits on time spent gambling and amount wagered are planned. The software used will have to be independently certified as fair.
Abruzzo proposes a tax rate of 20 percent on gross win, payable on a monthly basis by operators.