News By Industry
News from Tallahassee for 5/18/13
Port St. Lucie arcade owner to challenge Negron for state Senate seat posted on 5/15/13
by Staff | News Service of Florida
Brandon Cannon, who closed his senior arcade in Port St. Lucie last month after the state outlawed select electronic games, has opened a campaign account to challenge a potential future Senate president.
Cannon, 26, said Tuesday he is undeterred that Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, is in line to become Senate president for the 2017 and 2018 sessions or that Negron has already amassed more than $104,000 for the 2014 contest.
“We cried out to our local legislators in St. Lucie County, Okeechobee County, and further south, and we had a little support but nothing from out local representatives and Sen. Negron,” said Cannon, a Greenville, S.C. native who has lived in Port St. Lucie for most of the past decade.
Cannon, a Republican who said he voted in 2012 for Negron’s re-election, was part of a troupe from Port St. Lucie that traveled to Tallahassee to plea before the Senate Rules Committee against the proposed gaming crackdown (HB 155). He said the seniors who accompanied him were unable to hold one-on-one meetings with Negron.
Former lawmakers big winner on scratch-off ticket posted on 5/15/13
by Staff | The Back Room
Former state Rep. Frank Farkas, a St. Petersburg Republican who was unable to regain a seat in the Legislature last November, has scratched off a big payday for himself, the Florida Lottery announced Tuesday. Farkas, 56, took a one-time, lump-sum payment of $815,515.72, after winning a prize in part of the lottery’s “Lucky $200,000 A Year for Life” game.
Fla. launches sale of Mega Millions tickets posted on 5/15/13
by GARY FINEOUT | AP
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- No one is quite sure if the numbers will add up, but the Florida Lottery on Wednesday will start selling tickets to the popular Mega Millions lottery game.
Lottery officials are launching the multi-game state with a bit of a flash, even scheduling an opening day celebration at a Fort Myers convenience store. There are expectations that the game will be a big success, especially since last year it had a record payout for a lottery.
But Mega Millions isn't a sure winner overall for the Florida Lottery.
There are lingering questions on how the sales will impact other lottery games - and how much more money it will generate for the state's schools.
Players win by matching the five white ball numbers (1-56) and the golden Mega Ball number. Tickets cost $1 while tickets for Powerball now cost $2.
State economists have concluded that the addition of Mega Millions will result in reduced sales in both Powerball and Florida Lotto, which has been the flagship game for the Lottery for more than 20 years.
Despite law, cities quiet on kids’ gaming machines posted on 5/13/13
by Glenn Garvin | Miami Herald
Since Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation outlawing video gambling machines last month, South Florida cops have rolled through their cities like the Untouchables, seizing dozens of machines from mom-and-pop stores and cafes and arresting their owners, while politicians deliver fiery orations about rubbing out a cancer on the community.
But everybody has been curiously quiet about another aspect of the law: big, well-heeled — and lawyered-up — kiddie and adult arcades whose machines were also outlawed by the new legislation. A Miami Herald check of popular chains like Dave & Buster’s, Chuck E. Cheese’s and Game Time found hundreds of machines that don’t comply with the new law...
The sweeping nature of the law, coupled with the harsh penalty, convinced many business owners to get rid of their machines — especially after Miami cops staged a series of photo-op seizures and arrests. Hundreds of arcades for senior citizens around the state shut down after their association’s attorney warned them their businesses ran afoul of the law.
But many arcades that market themselves to children or young adults are simply ignoring the law.
• Literally hundreds of machines in Dave & Buster’s arcades in Hollywood and Sweetwater are activated by computerized smart cards rather than coins. Prizes that can be won on a single game play run from a Geneva wristwatch that retails for about $25 to 10 downloaded songs from iTunes, worth about $10.
• Lake Worth’s Fun Depot offers play on dozens of actual slot machines. Though the slots have been altered to play with and pay off in tokens rather than coins, they were illegal even before Florida’s new law. Many other machines are activated by smart cards rather than coins, and prizes include Beats Solo headphones (retail price: about $200) and Xbox 360 game consoles ($180 and up).
• Most machines at Boomers, a Boca Raton arcade operated by a California-based chain, work on smart cards. Prizes that can be won on a single play include laptop computers, Nintendo, Xbox and PlayStation game consoles and iPods.
• Game Time, a Florida arcade chain with a location in South Miami, has smart-card-activated machines offering prizes ranging from popcorn machines to 46-inch televisions that can be won on a single play.
• In Hialeah, Chuck E. Cheese’s — a popular kiddie pizza parlor that includes an arcade — has a wind-tunnel machine in which a nimble-fingered child can snatch up to 2,000 prize tickets: enough for a fiber-optic lamp that changes colors. Similar models go for about $20 in stores. And, like all the other arcades The Miami Herald visited, it has several so-called coin-pushers, machines in which dropping a token may cause hundreds of others to cascade out in a jackpot.
High-profile names on witness list for Kelly Mathis, attorney for Allied Veterans of the World posted on 5/8/13
by Larry Hannan | Times-Union
SANFORD - Several state and local leaders are on the witness list for the Jacksonville lawyer accused of being the mastermind behind a veterans charity that prosecutors say was actually a $300 million gambling operation.
The witness list filed by Kelly Mathis includes former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, former Florida Secretary of Agriculture Charles Bronson, Palm Beach state attorney Dave Aronberg, former Jacksonville City Council President Jack Webb and sheriffs Joey Dobson (Baker), Rick Beseler (Clay), Jeff Hardy (Putnam) and David Shoar (St. Johns).
Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford is not on the list, nor is Nassau Sheriff Bill Leeper or his predecessor, Tommy Seagraves.
Other high-profile local names include co-defendents Nelson Cuba, 48, president of the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police; union first vice president Robbie Freitas; and Jerry Bass, 62, of Jacksonville, who is the national commander of Allied Veterans of the World.
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