Florida Online Poker Very Soon, Possibly!
The state of Florida could see a legalized and regulated online poker infrastructure by as early as July, 2011. According to reports, Florida is investigating a number of ways to expand its gambling market, one of them being the use of pari-mutuel facilities to offer online poker games through a third party website. This option would offer the gambling facility a cut of each of the poker hands played, while the state would earn through taxes paid on each rake.
Legislators are said to be eagerly backing the idea in a bid to fill empty state coffers, and, if all goes according plan, Florida’s poker players could enjoy online poker in the state. According to Rep. Joseph Abruzzo (D-Wellington), the politician who proposed the bill, there is a lot of logic behind the idea.
“It’s common sense,” he said. “There are hundreds of thousands of players in Florida in unregulated and unprotected offshore sites.”
“Why not legalize, regulate and bring in revenue from something that’s already occurring?” he asked.
Florida is not the first state to consider legalizing and regulating online poker. Legislative branches in New Jersey have already approved online gambling, and the bill was placed before the governor earlier this month. California is also pushing towards a similar bill.
There is strong opposition to recent ideas to turn Florida into what anti-gambling groups call a “destination casino resort”. They argue that while big groups such as Las Vegas Sands Corp and Wynn Casino tout job creation and economic development as a good reason to expand gambling in the state, there are actually better ways to fight Florida’s $3.6 billion deficit.