Mike Haridopolos: Senate Maintains Stance to Regulate Internet Cafes
Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, reaffirmed the Senate’s stance that favors regulating, rather than banning, the existing Internet cafes and businesses that allow people to play slot machine-style games for “sweepstake” prizes instead of a direct cash award.
The House on Thursday voted 72-43 for HB 3 that would prohibit the Internet cafes and arcades.
Sorry, you need to install flash to see this content.
However, the Senate stance has remained that the approximately 1,500 strip mall businesses should be regulated rather than prohibited.
“Given conversations, most (Senate members) believe that they should be regulated as opposed to banned,” Haridopolos said.
“We’ll continue to poll the members; if there is a desire of members to look closer at the House position or the Senate position, that’s fine with me.”
The ban has been supported by Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Sheriffs Association.
The Senate bill, SB 380, would require the businesses to register with the state. As 2012 began, a little more than 10 of the businesses were registered with the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs.
Also Thursday, Sarah Bascom, spokeswoman for The Coalition of Florida's Internet Cafes, voiced support for regulations rather than a ban.
"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,” Bascom stated in a release.