It’s an idea gaining currency around the country: virtual gambling as part of the antidote to local budget woes. The District of Columbia is the first to legalize it, while Iowa is studying it, and bills are pending in places like California and Massachusetts.
But the states may run into trouble with the Justice Department, which has been cracking down on all forms of Internet gambling. And their efforts have given rise to critics who say legalized online gambling will promote addictive wagering and lead to personal debt troubles.For the local angle on this legislative push, check out Belanger’s piece, which features a discussion with Florida state Rep. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Wellington, who introduced a bill last legislative session which would allow the state to “regulate Internet poker sites that can ensure consumer protections and additional revenue to the state by authorizing, implementing and creating a licensing and regulatory structure and system of Internet poker.” Though the bill did not pass next year, Abruzzo told the Weekly that it would be reintroduced next session, which begins in January.
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