Florida Bill Proposes Intrastate Online Gambling
A bill introduced to the Florida legislature Friday would legalize intrastate online gambling and regulate it through the Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering. State Representative Joseph Abruzzo authored the Internet Poker Consumer Protection and Revenue Generation Act of 2010.
If the bill passes, it would create a position as Internet hub operator, which would administer online poker rooms connecting players residing in Florida. Players would register accounts at affiliated card rooms, which would be responsible for providing patrons to the Internet gaming operator.
The online gambling operator would be charged a $500,000 licensing fee, while each card room that wished to be an affiliate would pay $1000 for a license. The rake would be taxed 20 percent by the state before being divided among operator and affiliates.
Internet operational licensing would require that applicants be incorporated in the state of Florida, ruling out attempts by established overseas Internet gambling companies from assuming the mantle of Florida online poker operator. However, the bill leaves open the possibility of more than one hub operator.
Provisions are included that require age checking at the time of funding of accounts, as well as measures designed to affirm identity, guard against money-laundering, and allow for self-exclusion and other problem gambling safeguards.
Abruzzo says almost one million Floridians already participate in online gambling at unregulated sites run by offshore operators. He states his bill would generate over $200 million for the state in the first year of operation.
Abruzzo expressly draws in the bill the right to create intrastate online gambling regulation from the wording of the UIGEA federal Internet gambling ban.
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