Hot on the heels of New Jersey’s recent efforts to regulate online gambling comes a new bill in Florida that seeks to do the same.
Florida Representative Joseph Abruzzo, who tried the same gambit in 2010, has introduced the Internet Poker Consumer Protection & Revenue Generation Act of 2011, a proposal to officially regulate online poker in the Sunshine State. It could take effect as soon as July 1.
“Under the proposal, up to three poker sites would contract with the state as hubs, with the websites of Florida’s 23 pari-mutuels’ card rooms each acting as a portal,” explains Nick Sortal at the Sun-Sentinel. “To participate, players would click on a pari-mutuel site and go into a pool of other Florida players.”
These hubs would profit by the rake they pull in from players, with the state getting 10 percent of each room’s rake. That’s the same rate Florida law taxes brick-and-mortar poker rooms.
“Opposing the Florida bill are online poker companies such as PokerStars.com and FullTiltPoker.com, which already have a large audience and simply want the state to legalize their sites instead of going through the pari-mutuels,” Sortel continues. “Some players’ groups also are against the bill because they want online poker approved nationally, not state by state.”
“Internet poker is best for the consumer when you can have a critical mass of players from all jurisdictions and all time zones meeting on a site and playing,” said John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA).
John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance, wants a national bill legalizing all Internet poker sites. He estimates 8 million to 10 million Americans — about 400,000 of them Floridians — play online through offshore accounts.