Internet cafes and sweepstakes parlors have been a hot topic in the US as authorities have classified them as illegal online gambling without true legal justification. Authorities in many jurisdictions have openly targeted these internet cafes in raids and have prosecuted the owners. But today, a small victory came for one sweepstakes owner, Jeaneen Cristante.
Cristante had been arrested and accused of running an illegal online gambling operation. But today, a jury in Marion County, Florida, found Jeaneen Cristante not guilty on the charges brought against her. Cristante has maintained that the electronic sweepstakes were used to promote her phone card business and that players won prizes not cash.
One would think that the significance of this ‘not guilty’ ruling would bring change to the way many sweepstakes cases are prosecuted moving forward. But according to Florida Assistant State Attorney Mark Simpson, the ruling isn’t going to change the way the state is going after these establishments.
States like North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia are facing the same issue. It appears that nothing short of a Supreme Court Ruling will stop the way authorities are raiding these internet cafes and sweepstakes parlors. So far though, sweepstakes are up on the scoreboard.