Fla. Internet cafe ban sure thing, but don’t mess with Granny

The Florida Legislature might be ready to shut down Internet cafes,
but are senior arcades gone, too?

Don’t bet on it, said state Sen. Joseph Abruzzo.

In an interview Tuesday afternoon, hours after a ban on Internet cafes
won unanimous passage in the Senate Rules Committee on its way to the
Senate floor, Abruzzo, D-Wellington, said he won’t support the
Internet casino ban unless senior arcades are exempted.

The Rules Committee voted followed numerous often-emotional senior
citizens, veterans and arcade owners – many of whom had made the trip
from South Florida to have their say.

grandma on the internetSpeakers stressed the arcades’ social nature, emphasizing over and
over the difference between them and casinos, whether the Internet or
Indian kind.

Though he seemed to take the objections to heart, Sen. John Thrasher,
the St. Augustine Republican who sponsored the bill, wasn’t backing
away from its substance.

“I’m not going to back off,” he said. “This is a legitimate bill …
This bill will be on the floor of the Florida Senate … probably Thursday.”

With the House having passed a virtually identical bill, and its
support from Senate President Don Gaetz and others in the leadership.
The Internet gambling ban is virtually certain to go to Gov. Rick
Scott for signing.

The big question is whether senior arcades will be collateral damage on the way.

]“It’s going to be a close call,” Abruzzo said. “It’s an issue of
great concern.”

But as to the Internet-cafe ban itself?

“This is going to pass,” he said.



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