John Romano column: Internet cafe ban is about politicians covering their butts
Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano's latest column is on the real story behind the Internet cafe ban. An excerpt:
Here is a Cliffs Notes-style time line of how this bill found its way to Gov. Rick Scott's desk:
1. Entrepreneurs discover they can make hefty profits by simulating casino-style games on computers in neighborhood storefronts.
2. Politicians harrumph.
3. Entrepreneurs donate to political campaigns.
4. The harrumphing stops.
5. A federal investigation of one of the largest Internet cafe corporations results in dozens of high-profile arrests and contributes to the resignation of the lieutenant governor.
6. Lawmakers act shocked — Shocked! — to find there is gambling going on.
While this unofficial record of events is not as comprehensive or annotated as the state's version, I like to think it is a more accurate reflection of what really happened.