Lawmakers are walking a line between risking jobs and cutting out gambling, and they’re not thinking twice.
A Florida Senate panel has unanimously approved a measure that would all but ban internet cafes in Florida, a House committee has already acted similarly on a near unanimous vote. Dozens came out to protest the action at Monday’s hearing, calling instead for more regulation and saying they will lose their jobs if the cafes are shut.
Republican State Senator John Thrasher, a sponsor, says regulation is just not enough.
“I regret that if somebody loses a job as a result of that, but we simply cannot condone illegal activity,” he says.
Thrasher is happy to see the broad support at committee level and expects that will continue in the full votes, despite these job-based concerns. For him, it’s about drawing the line.
“We’re not trying to keep anyone from doing legal work,” he says.
Thrasher says legally operating cafes can prove to law enforcement that their business is on the up-and-up, but it will be up to them to prove.
“There will be heightened scrutiny on these types of operations,” he says.
He says anyone involved in a café should get legal advice to make sure they can document the business’s legal dealings.