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Internet cafes ban clears hurdle in Fla. house

TALLAHASSEE – Some Florida House Republicans are calling for a ban on Internet cafes, which have sprung up all around the state.

A House committee voted Tuesday in favor of a bill to ban the cafes, which offer electronic sweepstakes entries to customers. Critics charge they are a form of illegal gambling and call the Internet cafes storefront casinos.

But the bill is starkly differentfrom other legislative proposalsalso under consideration. A Senate bill authorizing three large casinos includes a provision that wouldregulate an estimated1,000 Internet cafes but notban them.

Several Democrats on the House Business and Consumer Affairs subcommittee voted against the ban on Internet cafes, saying it would lead to a loss of jobs. Anestimated 13 people work onaverage at each caf.