Florida has become the latest state to ponder the legalization of online poker. With efforts picking up in New Jersey and Nevada, the race is on to bring lawful intrastate poker into the American arena.
Known as SB812, this particular piece of legislation is sponsored by Florida State Senator Miguel Diaz De La Porta. After already making it through the Senate Regulated Industries Committee, the bill will now appear before the full body. From there, SB812 would find its way to the desk of governor Rick Scott.
So what are the chances of such a bill actually being successful? Depends on how you look at it. A similar effort was recently shot down by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, though word is that the state will come back with another effort. In Florida, the advancement of online poker is serving an interesting purpose – a budget stopgap. With a deficit of nearly $3.5 billion in their budget, a study has suggested that the legalization of the internet game could inject as much as $37 million into the Florida economy in as little as three years.
“We’re protecting consumers,” De La Portilla said to the Sunshine State News newspaper. “We’re generating revenues for the state of Florida from an activity that is currently taking place.”
As in the failed New Jersey Legislation, players would be required to hold citizen status, and the servers and software would have to be based within state borders. This would circumvent current UIGEA regulations.
If approved, SB812 could go into effect as soon as this summer.