January 11, 2013 : FLORIDA COMMISSION WILL DECIDE FATE OF INTERNET GAMBLING CAFES
Attempt to ban this channel last year failed in the state Senate
Florida legislators have not given up on addressing the problem of Internet gambling cafes, despite failing to impose a ban last year after the measure died in the state Senate.
The games, which are very similar to slot machines, operate in a grey area of the law because they don’t technically qualify as a game of chance, since the outcomes are predetermined. State gambling laws refer to these games as sweepstakes.
This week Senate President Don Gaetz announced the appointment of a committee to determine the genres fate, along with the future of other gambling issues such as tribal gaming and parimutuel facilities. The committee will have a two year mandate, in the meantime leaving the policing of Internet cafes at county level.
Not all Internet cafe operators are interested in offering gambling, and many have formed their own action group to defend their interests, titled Coalition of Florida Internet Cafes. This week a spokesman for the body said:
“We agree that the electronic sweepstakes technology has outpaced current law and that changes should be made to the law so that bad operators can be shut down and law enforcement and local governments can have the measuring stick they need to distinguish between the law abiding facilities and the questionable ones."