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Bill to Legalize Online Poker in Florida is Killed in Committee

What the hell is wrong with Florida, where a state Senate committee has just killed a bill to legalize online poker.

Bunch of jerks.

Regulating the industry…and by the way, then having the chance to collect state taxes… died in committee this week, when the Senate Criminal Justice Committee killed the bill with a 2-2 tie vote.

The bill, by Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, would have regulated online poker games by allowing Floridians to play with other Floridians through an intranet system operated out of the parimutuel card rooms.

I don’t understand what would be wrong with that? Do you?

Gross receipts would be taxed at 10 percent — estimated at about $10.5 million a year — and another 4 percent of profits would go into increasing purses for the horse and dog tracks in Florida.

The measure also would have barred competition from online gambling operators now offering the games under a grey area in federal law.

“What we’re trying to do here is create Florida intrastate poker network and do it with Florida companies iwth regulations here — protecting from identify theft and protecting the consumer — and having revenue go to the state,” Diaz de la Portilla told the committee.

“This is really the ultimate convenience gambling,” said Frank Messersmith, lobbyist for the Florida Sheriff’s Association. “It provides anonynmity in your home with no peer pressure, no social interaction.” He called it “internet crack” that is particularly enticing to young males and will not stop the offshore gambling.

‘this is a form of digital escape to the anti-social people and it just opens all types of doors that we think is too opportune for people to be caught up in gambling,” he said.

Gus Corbella, a lobbyist for the internet poker operators, said that 80,000 Floridians have called lawmakers to oppose the bill because it is “monopolistic and unfair” and is “severely limiting the access that Florida players currently have.” He said that while the federal law makes sports betting is illegal online the law is “unclear at best” for online poker.

OK, so now you have the argument against.

Here is my argument for: I just want to play. Don’t much care who takes in the profits if it is not me.

OK? Get on with it legislators.

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