Published On: Fri, Apr 5th, 2013

Indian casino lobby big winner in Internet cafe ban, pushed through in the wake of scandal

Florida legislators voted overwhelmingly Thursday to ban storefront gaming operations, a quick response to a scandal that led to dozens of arrests and the lieutenant governor’s resignation.

photo /tyler eugene wilson

photo /tyler eugene wilson

The bill is now headed to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott, who said he will sign it. The operations, commonly called “Internet cafes,” would allow customers to play sweepstakes games that simulated slot machines.

“It took a serious event, a very serious event, to bring attention to what we needed to do,” said Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine and one of the sponsors of the measure.

The Florida Senate approved the measure on a 36-4 vote Thursday. The Florida House had already approved it.
The Legislature is feeling pressure to act after an investigation into the Allied Veterans of the World charity. It was accused of running a $290 million illegal gambling business that directed most of the proceeds into its owners’ pockets. Law enforcement authorities last month arrested nearly 60 people affiliated with Allied.

Arcades have argued that they complied with a 1984 law legalizing games that required a human skill — in their case, pushing a button to “stop” slots-like spinning symbols. But proponents of the bill say those games are not skill-based, and changes in the bill would require arcades to have only coin-operated machines and ban giving gift cards as prizes.

Gail Fontaine, president of the Florida Arcade Association, immediately put out a statement saying that the group was “disappointed and disheartened” by the vote.

“Seniors and children are being punished despite following the rules and providing a safe place for entertainment,” she said. “It’s highly disappointing to see the Legislature punish our seniors for the misdeeds of Internet cafe operators. We are not gambling establishments. We are nothing more than social clubs that provide fun and stimulating games to keep our patrons active and happy.”

So who wins here?

The Seminole gambling lobby group not just elevated their presence as the “competition” was eliminated and the push for Las Vegas casinos continues.

Recently the attempt was to broker a deal on behalf of the Seminole Tribe of Florida to legalize full-scale casino gambling across the state, funded by Vegas investors.

“They’re not regulators, they’re cheerleaders,” said John Glogau, an assistant Florida attorney general who was part of those discussions.


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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

Displaying 8 Comments
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  1. www.PartyPokerCasino.de says:

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  2. Florida Internet cafe ban worded incorrectly to outlaw all computers in the state - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Read more on how the Internet cafe ban impacted the Indian casino industry – click here […]

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    […] FULL STORY […]

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    […] The Global Dispatch Indian casino lobby big winner in Internet cafe ban, pushed through in the … The Global Dispatch Indian casino lobby big winner in Internet cafe ban, pushed through in the wake of scandal.  […]

  5. Rodge says:

    Steve, did you read the bill? It also makes any game rewarding a prize of more than 75 cents illegal. Have you ever been to a bowling ally, Dave and Busters, Movie Theater, or childreds arcade? Seen a claw machine before? Its not just adult arcades which these politicians who have basically been bribed by the Indian casinos have eliminated with this stupid ignorant bill. Not to mention the 20k jobs eliminated overnight here in Florida.

  6. Internet cafe customers brace for gambling shutdown – Daytona Beach News-Journal says:

    […] passes Internet gambling cafe ban; Scott will signFlorida Baptist WitnessBusinessweek -The Global Dispatch -Washington Post (blog)all 55 news […]

  7. Steve Norton says:

    I find it impossible to follow the logic of Gail Fontaine, President of the FL Arcade Association, who claims “Seniors and children are being punished despite following the rules and providing a safe place for entertainment.” Why should children be playing gambling games in Internet Cafes, whether games of skill or chance? And if gambling, skilled or otherwise, is legal; where are the taxes and oversight deemed necessary for other forms of betting. Our pari-mutual facilities usually require patrons to be over 18, and our casinos generally specify a minimum age of 21. Like cigarettes and alcohol, age limits and disproportionate taxes are applied for certain adult entertainment, including gambling, and deserves to continue in place. Where there are no regulations, no special taxes and no oversight, “something is rotten in Denmark”, as it is with Florida Internet Cafes.

    • Leah kevit says:

      You have no knowledge of what you are talking about these seniors come to the arcades and spend 20 max these are not Internet cafes. They. As treated like royalty many lonely ones. Do you know how businesses and people are going to be out of work. The people we voted for are supposed to protect us not hurt us.

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