Jacksonville, FL - Florida lawmakers continue to move quickly on action stepping up regulation on internet cafes, effectively banning them.
One of the key sponsors, however, is making a clear distinction.
“If there’s actually someone out there doing something legal, then they’ll be able to prove that,” says Republican State Senator John Thrasher.
Thrasher is sponsoring the Senate version of the bill, which passed 11-0 in a committee Monday. A Florida House committee has now cleared their companion on an overwhelming vote. The Senate bill is expected to have one more committee stop before going to the floor.
Thrasher says they have no intention of shutting the doors of any sites that are operating legally, but if an internet café is actually a gambling front, they will be affected by these new regulations.
“Effectively, these businesses will probably be out of business very shortly,” he says.
While lawmakers have been acting quickly in the fallout of the Allied Veterans of the World scandal, Thrasher says they have really been considering different forms of a ban for years. A multi-state, multi-agency investigation alleges Allied Veterans ran 49 illegal gambling sites which were supposed to be internet cafes earning money for veteran charities.