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Florida House Votes 72-43 To Ban Sweeps Viddies

Posted On: 3/2/2012

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Florida sweepstake video game ban, Internet sweepstakes game, Internet cafés, gambling machines, Florida House Bill 3, HB 3, Scott Plakon

TALLAHASSEE, FL -- By a margin of almost two to one, the Florida House of Representatives voted on March 1 to pass a statewide ban on Internet-based sweepstakes videogames and the so-called cafés that are their best-known locations.

The chief sponsor of House Bill 3, Rep. Scott Plakon (R-Longwood), introduced the measure last year. It won its first key committee vote almost a year ago. | SEE STORY

Plakon estimated last year that sweepstakes videogames, which he terms a "predatory" form of gambling, generate $1 billion a year in Florida. Various sources estimate that Florida is home to more than 1,000 sweeps venues.

Some legislators said the companion Senate bill, SB 576, faces near-certain failure because many senators believe sweeps games should regulated and taxed.

Sarah Bascom, a spokesperson for the Coalition of Florida's Internet Cafés, said the sweepstakes videogame business employs nearly 13,000 people statewide. CFIC supports a uniform code of regulation and taxation, she said.