Fla. Legislature divided on sweepstakes bills

AP News
Posted: Jan 19, 2012 1:25 PM
Fla. Legislature divided on sweepstakes bills

Florida legislators are growing more and more divided over whether to regulate or ban storefront operations known as Internet cafes.

A Senate panel on Thursday voted to regulate more than 1,000 operations that offer sweepstakes entries despite opposition from prosecutors and sheriffs. Law-enforcement officials instead back a bill that passed a House panel this week that would ban all Internet cafes.

Intercafe cafe operators maintain they are already legal under existing law. But they are seeking regulations to end ongoing legal disputes. Some prosecutors have moved to shut them down.

Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday said he backs a complete ban on the operations.

But because the Senate and House are now moving in opposite directions there is a chance that lawmakers will wind up doing nothing this year.