Bill to Ban Internet Cafes Passes House - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Bill to Ban Internet Cafes Passes House

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The Florida House of Representatives votes to ban internet cafes along with other electronic gambling devices throughout the state. This is a bill co-sponsored by our local representative, Jimmy Patronis.

House Bill 155 clarifies the existing gaming laws, helping both the player's and law enforcement to understand what constitutes as gambling vs. games of skill.

Last Friday the House of Representatives passed House Bill 155, a bill regarding the prohibition of electronic gambling devices, which would consequently ban "internet cafes" along with other sweepstakes-type games in the State of Florida. Besides clarifying the existing gaming laws, the bill gives law enforcement the tools to enforce the bans already in existence. While supporter's of the bill believe "internet cafes" have a negative influence in the community, opponents like members of the VFW Post 8205, say the game helps the organization raise money for charity.

"Those machines provided us income which we gave away to local charitable organizations," says Bill Dyslin, Quartermaster of the post. "We did a lot of support for veteran in this community of which today we can't do that because we don't have those machines. They provided us several thousand dollars a month, and we didn't feel like it was hurting anyone. We're a closed organization. We don't allow the public in here. The only money being spent was post members."

News 13 reached out to State Attorney Glenn Hess regarding the Bill.

In a statement, Hess writes: "The internet casino issue has been like the fairytale of the emperor's new clothes. The Jackson County Grand Jury, like the little boy, saw internet casinos for what they are, a criminal enterprise. I am glad to see that everyone can see them for what they are, a criminal enterprise."

This Bill was previously approved by the House Select Committee on Gaming.