A new law that takes effect immediately bans computer-based sweepstakes that act like slot machines, and casino games -- effectively putting the internet cafes that rely on them out of business.
"This bill is to crack down on illegal gaming, and that's what the House and Senate did. They cracked down on illegal gaming. They did the right thing," Governor Rick Scott said.
Many adult arcades will also be impacted by the new law. It prohibits games of chance, and limits winnings to 75 cents per play.
It doesn't allow players to accumulate winnings or receive gift cards. Some arcade operators would have to retool their machines to meet the new rules.
"Internet cafes really were kind of Lone Rangers out there. They were not paying taxes, they were not regulated and so I'm quite confident in the direction that the state is taking," Republican State Senator Rob Bradley of Fleming Island said.
"It was a fast reaction to an incident and maybe we didn't give enough time and thought to it. At least we could've talked about it some more through the end of session." Democratic State Senator Arthenia Joyner of Tampa said.
And she isn't the only person who thinks the law was rushed. One internet cafe customer, who didn't want to give his name, told Fox 13 he believes the state is making a mistake.
"I don't know how it's hurting people. Can you explain that to me? How is it hurting people?" he says. "How is that affecting people? You may as well shut down hard rock because everyone's losing their money there. Why don't you shut hard rock down? Why don't you shut Las Vegas down? Miami casinos. why not shut them all down."
The legislation raced through the capitol after an investigation led to scores of arrests and the shutdown of about 50 internet cafes operated by "Allied Veterans of The World."
Former Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll was forced to resign because she had worked for "Allied Veterans" in the past and didn't want to be a distraction for the Governor's re-election campaign.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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