The fast track efforts to prevent another multi-state scandal with big ties to Florida have paid off for state lawmakers.
The Florida Senate has approved a bill that aims to ban internet cafes with only four votes against. Northeast Florida State Senator John Thrasher was a driving force behind the push for change after the Allied Veterans of the World scandal, where investigators say the organization was profiting off illegal gambling rather than donating money to veteran charities.
“We now have a definition I think that clearly gives the law enforcement folks a bright line to understand,” Thrasher says.
He says we needed to have more regulation on the machines themselves and work to eliminate loopholes. Last minute efforts to amend the bill failed because of Thrasher’s insistence changes could water down the intent. He says the changes here are geared toward machines, not establishments.
One of the biggest last minute questions was on just that- whether the new regulations would affect large arcades, like Chuck E. Cheese’s
“I don’t think anybody’s gunna go in and raid Dave & Buster’s, they’re not the kind of machines we’re talking about,” Thrasher says.
He says people who do legitimate business will not be “harmed”, although anyone who may have been skirting around some of the loopholes and regulations may need to look at their machines and retool them.
Florida Governor Rick Scott had dodged a direct answer to whether he supports this legislation before the vote Thursday. Within minutes, WOKV took the question back to Scott, and we were first to report for you confirmation that Scott will, in fact, sign the bill in to law.