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NY limiting acceptance of welfare debit cards

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— New York's new budget contains amendments to social services law intended to keep welfare recipients from spending government money on alcohol, gambling or strippers.

The measure, scheduled to take effect at the end of May, prohibits gaming facilities, liquor stores, adult entertainment venues and some other retail outlets from accepting electronic benefit transfers from public assistance recipients.

The law already prohibits them from cashing welfare checks.

The amendments set a $50 penalty for a first offense at a liquor store or adult venue selling alcohol and possible liquor license suspension for a second offense.

For gaming establishments, the first violation carries a fine up to $100, rising to $500 for a second offense and a possible misdemeanor and $1,000 fine for subsequent violations.

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