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State News

Bill filed to regualte Internet Cafes

By Lynn Hatter

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-989780.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – Gambling is becoming a hot-button issue for the upcoming legislative session and internet caf s are one part of the industry lawmakers are giving extra attention. Lynn Hatter reports one lawmaker has filed a bill to put the brakes on internet cafe's, which have sprung up all over the state in the last few years.

State Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla's bill would require Internet Caf s to register with the Department Of Agriculture. It would also grant cities and counties the ability to more heavily monitor them.

The proposal also calls for charging a fee for each computer terminal that hosts an electronic gambling game and steers those fees into the state's general revenue fund.

The state is considering allowing some destination resorts to open up in Central and South Florida. That part of the gaming industry has been pushing for those businesses for years. At the same time, internet cafes, because they are largely unregulated, have gotten an opposite reaction from local and state officials.
If the bill passes the legislature and is signed into law, it would go into effect next summer.