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Florida House Committee approves bill banning internet cafes

Posted at 10:44 AM, Mar 15, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-23 01:47:02-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- Lawmakers are moving to ban Internet cafes in Florida.

Friday the House Select Committee on Gaming voted 15-1 on House Bill 155. The bill would effectively deem internet cafes illegal by clarifying the definition of slot machines used at Internet cafes, adult arcades.

The bill is expected to be passed by the House next week.

“Internet casinos are a front for gambling and a breeding ground for other illegal activity," said Adam Putnam, Florida's Secretary of Agriculture and Consumer Services. "We must close the loophole in the law that has enabled them to invade our communities. The House Committee's vote today brings us one step closer to shutting down Internet casinos and improving the safety of Florida's communities.”

While their legality has been questioned for several legislative sessions, Internet cafes have quickly become front and center this week after 57 arrests involving individuals with Allied Veterans of the World.

State and Federal agents say Allied Veterans of the World was a non-profit charity that was just a front for a scheme allowing its owner to pocket nearly $300 million, with little of that money going to veterans charities as they said it was.

The investigation also pushed Florida Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll to suddenly resign, though she has not been charged in the case.