A Florida Senate committee followed the House lead on Monday and passed legislation to clarify state law to ban electronic sweepstakes games operated at Internet cafes in strip malls across the state.
The move comes less than a week after a federal and state investigation led to the arrest of 55 individuals in Florida and five other states on racketeering and corruptions charges linked to gaming centers run by the Allied Veterans, a purported charity that gave only 2 percent of their proceeds to veterans.
The fallout also prompted the resignation of Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll who previously represented the Allied Veterans in her consulting company and has led to one of the fastest legislative responses to a gambling probe in decades.
The Senate Select Committee on Gaming voted unanimously to pass the bill, even amid concerns that there may be unintended consquences that could affect penny arcades for children and seniors. The House gaming committee passed a nearly identical bill on Friday and is expected to pass it on the House floor on Wednesday.
The Senate committee spent most of the meeting laying the foundation for why the bill is needed this year, when they had planned to wait until next year to clarify the law, when they will attempt a sweeping rewrite of the state's gambling laws.