The Senate is expected to vote next Wednesday on HB 7, a bill which would all but shut down the state’s Internet cafes. There has been much discussion about whether the bill will pass as introduced or with amendments.
It now appears the following will not be included in HB 7:
- The inclusion of an emergency clause, which would make the legislation effective immediately upon signature by the Governor. Normally a bill becomes effective 90 days after signed by the Governor. With HB 7, an emergency clause
would also prevent advocates of Internet cafes from overturning the law with a ballot referendum because of a lack of time;
- Language that would permit fraternal and veterans organizations to legally operate ‘video raffle terminals’ which act like slot machines but have winners determined like instant bingo games. Such organizations have been given until
August 1 to have their gaming machines legalized or face enforcement action by the state’s attorney general’s office.
The following may still be included:
- Replace the $10 prize limit with a 3-5% limit on gross receipts of a business that can be paid out in sweepstakes;
- Add language relating to ‘skilled games’. Tic Tac Fruit is an example of this type of game. Most of these businesses have either ceased operation or switched to an Internet café. There is some concern that if HB 7 passes as introduced that
Internet café owners will switch to skilled gaming parlors.