Saturday, 6 August 2011

Sweepstakes café law unclear :By Senator

When the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office raided and closed three sweepstakes internet cafes in July - but made no arrests - they admitted Florida's law on cases obscure.

"That's kind of the problem," said sheriff's spokeswoman Marianne Pasha's office. "We work with a problem that is not exactly black and white. A lot of gray."

Gambling is clearly illegal, except in certain specific situations, under Florida law. But chapter 849, Florida Statutes, does not specify or purchase time on a computer and then playing a casino-style game for cash prizes on that computer is technically gambling.

Because of that, some law enforcement agencies in Florida enforcing gambling laws against the bars, others do not.

Sen. Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey) agrees with the law is ambiguous. "That puts law enforcement in an awkward position, and it is the legislature which direction to go," said Fasano.

During the last legislature, Fasano tried to make a law that would have allowed sweepstakes cafes to keep working pass, but also be controlled by the state.

The bill ultimately failed for several reasons including the fact that the sponsor in the House of Representatives, Rep. Peter Nehren (R-Palm Harbor), decided at the last minute to file the law, Fasano said.

What Fasano said he knew at the time that Rep. Nehren internet cafe sweepstakes in Pinellas County property. Nehren has since sold the bar, but has told the St. Pete Times that he believes that the internet sweepstakes cafes legal.

Nehren rep did not call back on either Thursday or Friday.

A spokesman for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi responded to a request asking for clarification of state law, directing ABC Action News for an opinion by former Attorney General Bill McCollum Florida.

The advice summary reads: "The ultimate determination of whether Florida's gambling laws may be violated must be made by the local police."

The advice does not add clarity to the state law, which is why Fasano plans to reintroduce his bill during the next legislature.


Post a Comment

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Facebook Themes