We've extensively covered the battle over the illegal gaming machines that are all over Miami Dade county throughout the years, the most famous of which was the war between current City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and Police Chief Miguel Exposito which ultimately ended in his unceremonious firing from the police department. While Exposito's demise seemed like a fatal blow to those who hoped to rid our city of these illegal gaming machines, the recent scandal involving the Jacksonville-based Allied Veterans of the World that ultimately brought about the resignation of our very own lieutenant governor Jenifer "I'm not a lesbian" Carroll, lit a fire under the anti maquinita camp again which has now culminated with Florida Senate bill HB 155, from the Miami Herald Article regarding the bill...
House Panel Passes Bill To Outlaw Illegal Gambling MachinesMary Ellen Klas
The online slot machines operated by strip mall Internet cafes, adult arcades and Miami-based maquinitas will be officially outlawed under a bill passed by a House panel on Friday.
In a 15-1 vote, the House Select Committee passed the bill (HB 155) just days after state and federal authorities arrested 57 individuals with ties to Jacksonville-based Allied Veterans of the World, a purported veterans charity organization that ran an illegal gambling operation.
The House measure, sponsored by Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, makes web-based gambling devices illegal because they are deemed games of chance and not games of skill, as promoters claim. Under the bill, promotional giveaways, like those offered by fast food restaurants or car dealers, will be allowed, but electronic casino-like games disguised as a sweepstakes or arcade game will be banned.
The bill was supported by an unusual coalition that included the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the pari-mutuel industry, the greyhound racing association and the Florida Baptist Convention. No one spoke in support of preserving or regulating the Internet cafes.
The bill clarifies existing law by prohibiting electronic gambling devices for charitable promotions, updates the definition of slot machines to include network-based machines like those used in Internet cafes and bans machines intended to simulate casino games and slot machines.
Trujillo said the legislation was needed because these cases are "extremely difficult to prosecute and extremely costly...The operators and promoters are very creative and they basically skirted around state law and it comes down to a battle of experts. And the experts have to decide, are these games of skill or games of chance?"You don't say? Even when experts decide that the machines are illegal, somehow the crooks in the City of Miami still make it impossible to get rid of them! Remember the scandal around the expert witness report that we obtained last year?
The Senate on Monday is set to take up a bill that is “similar or identical to the House’s bill,’’ said Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, chairman of the Senate Gaming Committee. Legislative leaders expect to have the bill reach the governor’s desk by the end of the month.It's rather obvious that the casino and para-mutual lobby are the ones that are behind this legislation and why the hell not? Theoretically these guys have legal gambling establishments that are highly regulated by the state, so why shouldn't they protect their businesses? Remember how the expert witness characterized the maquinitas when compared to legal gaming machines?
In a legal gambling jurisdiction, such as Nevada, New Jersey, or Mississippi, the discovery of a reflexive percentaging scheme in an acknowledged slot machine, would cause Gaming Inspectors to turn that machine off immediately, and would result in fines and disciplinary action for the casino responsible.
Once again, from the Herald article...
Internet cafes are not regulated by the state, but have been allowed to operate under regulation in several municipalities, including Hialeah and Jacksonville. Police have succeeded in closing down operators in some areas while in others courts have ruled the law is too vague to prevent them from operating.
Finally, it looks like by the end of the month the maquinitas will be history and with them goes the underground economy they support along with the worthless shitbag politicians they back. The lack of funding from the illegal gaming industry in Miami should make for an interesting upcoming election season.