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Florida Next State to Legalize Online Poker

Written by:
Ace King
Published on:
Feb/28/2011

Assuming New Jersey Governor Chris Christie moves forward and signs a bill legalizing online poker, Florida could be next in line.

We can’t necessarily make assumptions, however, as Christie has until Thursday to either sign or veto the legislation sitting on his desk. 

Florida is among a handful of states that include New Jersey, California and Iowa all looking to get a piece of the industry pie.  Analysts say worldwide Internet gambling as a whole takes in multi billions of dollars each year.

Tom Knox of the News-Journal in Daytona Beach, Florida, noted proposed legislation would bring online poker room portals to Florida’s horse tracks, jai-alai frontons and existing land-based card rooms.

"We want to legalize it, regulate it and bring the revenue to Florida," said state Rep. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Wellington, who proposed the initial bill. "To me it's common sense to protect our players."

Daniel Francati, manager of the Daytona Beach Kennel Club & Poker Room, one of the 23 pari-mutuels, is eager to benefit from that huge market, according to Knox, and with good reason.  His poker room hosted its first World Series of Poker event just last week. 

"I think it'll help take Internet players and try to convert them into brick-and-mortar players," Francati said, comparing it to how a newspaper can use its website to lure readers to the print version.

"You always have a question when people are playing online for money," he said. "How do you know they're paying if it isn't regulated?"

- Ace King, Gambling911.com

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