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Internet cafes' loss may be parimutuels' gain: legislators to ponder moving games

As the Florida Senate appears ready to outlaw the electronic slot machine-like games offered by Internet cafes, adult arcades and maquinita operators in Florida, there is talk that the machines will be resurrected next year.

Sen. John Thrasher, a St. Augustine Republican and chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, said Tuesday that he would like to consider allowing the machines to be operated at the dog tracks, horse traces and jai alai frontons throughout the state, which are currently regulated and paying taxes.

“As long as they’re regulated in the pari-mutuel facilities that’s something for us to talk about. I’ve always said if we are going to allow any expansion of gaming – which I’m not really for – the existing authorized, legitimate are where we should do it,” he said. 

Las Vegas-style slot machines are currently only allowed in the six parimutuel faciliites Miami Dade and Broward but in 2011 Thrasher proposed an amendment to a bill in the final hours of the legislative session that would have allowed the Jacksonsville greyhound track in his district to operate a copycat version, known as video lottery terminals, that allow players to play against each other, not the house. The amendment nearly derailed the end of session, but it didn't pass.

Now, Thrasher says, when the Florida Legislature returns next year to take a comprehensive look at the state's gambling laws, the issue should return. The House and Senate have set up select committees to study gaming regulation and come up with a proposal next year. The Senate committee is chaired by Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, and the House's is chaired by Rep. Rob Schenck, R-Spring Hill.

“I suspect that when Sen. Richter does his deal next year that some of the pari-mutuels will come in and say ‘let us do it’ because we’re paying taxes – a high rate of taxes,'' he said.

 

 

Comments

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DD

Internet cafe cronies and corrupt lobbyists should be held responsible for these family predators.

Sandy Hoff

Jai alai ~ YES! Dog racing and Horse racing ~ NO! It is time to stop abusing these animals for sport! The public is already being abused by taking away our rights. Stop the political pandering. We voted you in and we can vote you out. Watch us.

Maryanne

What a nice, convenient way to reward contributors. Shut down the internet cafes, then move the games to the pari mutuals, who contribute more money to politicians than the internet cafes. If the games are evil, then they are evil whether they are in a strip mal, or a run down dog track.

cher

This statement by Sen. John Thrasher tells us whose in his pocket.Thrasher lives in the same area where there is 3 greyhound racing tracks with poker rooms and in the the two surrounding counties Duval and Clay that regulated and taxed the internet cafes.All of these internet cafes that Trujillo and Thrasher says dont pay any taxes is FALSE statements!!! Each of these small internet cafes pays $575.00 per year for each computer they operate.In theses two counties it is estimated to operate 4000 computers and or games paying taxes in the amount of $2,000,000.00 per year!!!!!! So how can someone that is making our laws get away with saying lies?

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