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2-2 tie in committee dashes Florida online poker bill

The online poker legalisation bill proposed by Florida Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla has been crippled by a 2-2 tie vote in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, effectively killing the bill for this year.

The bill would have regulated strictly intrastate online poker games operated out of the pari-mutuel card rooms. Gross receipts would have been taxed at 10% -- estimated at about $10.5 million a year initially for state coffers - and another 4% of profits would go into increasing purses for the horse and dog tracks in Florida. The measure also would have barred competition from 'unauthorised' online gambling operators now offering their wares in the state.

Opposing the measure, was the Florida Sheriff's Association , who's lobbyist Frank Messersmith said: “This is really the ultimate convenience gambling. It provides anonymity in your home with no peer pressure, no social interaction." He called it "internet crack" that is particularly enticing to young males and will not stop the offshore gambling. "This is a form of digital escape to the anti-social people and it just opens all types of doors that we think is too opportune for people to be caught up in gambling,'' he said.

Gus Corbella, a lobbyist for internet poker operators, said that 80,000 Floridians have called lawmakers to oppose the bill because it is "monopolistic and unfair" and is “severely limiting the access that Florida players currently have.”

He said that while the federal law makes sports betting illegal, in online environment the law is “unclear at best” for online poker

Source: InfoPowa News

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