Harsher Penalties Proposed for Illegal Gambling in Florida

In Florida, the legislative gears are turning as two bills aimed at intensifying the crackdown on illegal gambling progress through the state legislature. One is swiftly moving through the House, and its counterpart is gaining similar momentum in the Senate. These proposals underscore the determination of Florida lawmakers to curb illegal gambling operations and the proliferation of unauthorized gambling machines. Despite the advances, the journey of these bills faces hurdles with growing opposition casting a shadow over their eventual enactment.

The House’s bill, HB 189, is set to toughen penalties for illegal gambling activities. It introduces a novel approach by mandating cease-and-desist orders be issued to illegal gambling establishments before any arrests or legal actions are pursued, aiming to shield unknowing employees from immediate criminal repercussions. Furthermore, HB 189 seeks to clamp down on those misrepresenting illegal gambling operations as lawful, proposing to upgrade the legal consequence of conducting illegal gambling from a second-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, with even harsher penalties for repeat offenses.

Conversely, SB 1046, the Senate’s version, echoes the intent to stiffen penalties but omits the provision for cease-and-desist orders found in the House bill. This bill recently passed a Committee Substitute with a notable majority, mirroring HB 189’s advancement in the House. Both bills are poised for a floor vote that will be critical to their future in the state’s legislative framework.

However, these legislative efforts are not without controversy. Critics, including representatives from the American Legion and the Florida Moose Lodge, voiced their apprehensions during a recent House committee hearing. They highlighted potential unintended consequences that could ensnare volunteers and employees who might unknowingly find themselves in the midst of illegal gambling operations, facing criminal charges under the new legislation. The opposition calls for clarity in the bills’ language to prevent such scenarios, signaling a contentious path ahead for these legislative measures in Florida.

The post Harsher Penalties Proposed for Illegal Gambling in Florida appeared first on iGaming.org.

Physical Address

304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124