TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The two chambers of the state legislature are moving in opposite directions in the debate over internet cafes. A Senate Committee approved legislation on Thursday to regulate the store-front casinos that offer cash payouts.
But the committee shunned legislation to ban the cafes, which a House committee approved last week.
The cafes have been able to operate through a loophole in the state's sweepstakes law, operators maintain they are legal. Supporters of the cafes also boast about the thousands of jobs that are created.
"But what they don't say is there is a billion dollars being extracted from our economy, for the poor and elderly to a large part," said Republican State Representative Scott Plakon from Longwood.
Plakon says the cafes create a drain on the economy that far outweighs any jobs that are created.
Law enforcement officials are backing the legislation to ban the casinos. Governor Rick Scott also said this week he doesn't believe the cafes are, or should be, legal.