House votes 108 – 7 to ban Internet cafes

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The Florida House today voted to ban Internet cafes in the state of Florida through the passage of CS/HB 155 regarding the prohibition of electronic gambling devices.

“Internet cafes have been a blight on Florida for many years, and I am proud of the House for once again voting to shut them down,” said Speaker Will Weatherford. “With the recent crackdown on racketeering and fraud, I hope this will be the year when the House bill finally becomes the law of the land.” 

Recently, state law enforcement officials arrested several individuals on charges of racketeering for their alleged involvement with an illegal gambling network that included Internet cafes.  CS/HB 155 clarifies existing gaming laws to more clearly define what constitutes slot machines, charitable drawings and amusement games.  The bill also clarifies the skill involved in arcade games to ensure vendors do not rework their games to manipulate that exemption.  Additionally, the bill provides law enforcement with tools to enforce the prohibitions already on the books. Prosecutions have been costly because of the complexity of the law and the cost of experts to prove the games are illegal slot machines. 

“This bill ensures Floridians that gaming in our state can continue to occur with proper oversight from the state,” said bill sponsor Representative Carlos Trujillo.  “I believe Internet cafes are bad for Florida, and I am glad the House has taken steps again to ensure they have no place in our communities.” 

The bill was previously approved by the House Select Committee on Gaming.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.