Waldman Is Only Vote Agt. Internet Cafes Ban



During his seven years in the House, Broward State Rep. Jim Waldman has railed against bills being rushed through the Legislature.

So it was no surprise that Coconut Creek Democrat was the only vote on the House Gaming Committee against the bill to ban Internet cafes, adult game rooms and maquinitas.

Waldman received the 28-page bill just hours before the meeting.

The committee vote was 15-1.

Jim Waldman: Votes Against Bill Being Rushed 

After years of inaction, the House hastily drafted the gambling ban in the wake of a federal investigation that prompted this week’s resignation of the lieutenant governor.

“It’s a knee jerk reaction,” Waldman complained.

“…Many of the people impacted by this bill weren’t even aware they were in it,” Waldman told the committee. “I’ve made it a habit when I think these bills are not ready for the floor to vote against them. I’m going to vote against this today.”

After assuring the room full of gaming lobbyists that he was a supporter of pari-mutuels and casinos, Waldman implored the House to explore regulating the whole range of gambling that currently fall through the cracks in Florida’s laws.

He mentioned Internet poker and sports betting, plus the cafes, game rooms and maquinitas.

Broward’s other committee member, state Rep. Joe Gibbons, D-Hallandale Beach, voted for the bill.

The full House is expected to consider the bill next week.

6 Responses to “Waldman Is Only Vote Agt. Internet Cafes Ban”

  1. Reno says:

    No surprise here. He is thinking they will finance his Senate campaign against little man.

  2. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    It is a knee jerk reaction and Waldman is right.

    Sadly this episode with Allied Veterans constitutes a huge step backward for a tourist state in need of a thoughtfully organized gaming industry. Instead of focusing on those who handled that situation badly, the Legislature is taking the wrong retaliatory step which turns a bad situation into a tragic one. Citizens end up losing even more this way.

    Tourism is Job #1 in Florida. If our visitors want to play cards or gamble and if Florida wants the economic benefits that comes from it, there should be ways within reason — thoughtful and measured to protect our quality of life — that allows the expansion of gaming for those counties that vote to allow it.

    It is foolish to ignore this reality. It is painful to our citizens who need the jobs and economic boost. When we can’t sell sunshine in Florida, that’s a problem that must be resolved. Orlando should NOT be the only place that does super well with tourism in Florida. We must stay up with the times and be reasonably flexible to what the visiting customer wants in order to compete for their business.

    Tourists are going to do it anyway so it is silly not to confront the reality of the situation.

    I am a member of the Broward County Tourist Development Council which oversees tourism planning countywide. On a good month, 70% of our hotel beds are occupied. They call that a good month. I want for us to call that a bad month.

    I want to see our hotels at 90% to 95% occupied at all times because that’s what brings in dollars to pay for huge expenses that we otherwise have to fund through the property tax. What expenses you ask? How about beach renourishment. Do you have any idea how many millions this county pays to dredge sand off shore and dump it on the beach, only to have the tide pull it back again? And if we didn’t do that, there would be no beaches in Broward. Millions upon millions go to this alone.

    Wouldn’t we like to see a Fisherman’s Wharf in Fort Lauderdale?

    How about some high end family attractions to replace some of our woefully utilized public parks? How about a convention center hotel?

    These things take money to do — now, either the tourist pays for it or you do.

    Or, as has become Broward’s style, it doesn’t get done at all.

    At some point, Broward needs to come together. There must be a reckoning. We need to confront what we want to be when we grow up and how to get there.

    The question for Florida is not whether we want gaming. That answer is yes. The question is how to do it right and so long as we are focused on the wrong question we will continue to generate the wrong answers.

  3. Bill Livesay says:

    Hey Waldman, I’ll pay extra taxes to help keep Grandma and welfare recipients out of those slot machine dens. Sounds like you might be have a special interest in some of that crime. The only thing the Allied Veterans has been donating to with those massive profits is their lifestyles.

  4. frank says:

    Hey bill, you forgot they were also donating to politicians

  5. pupupu says:

    Waldman is right!
    Knee jerk reactions are usually hasty and not well thought out.
    Go Waldman-
    He deserves to go to the next level-Senate!
    He is a stand up kind of guy and unlike so many others, his focus is serving the public, certainly not the lobbyists.
    Go Waldman

  6. Internet Cafe Law Killed says:

    A California law against Internet Cafes has just been struck down in federal court as a violation of the First Amendment.

    The Florida law may well be next.