Internet Cafes, virtual slot machines, online sweepstakes and other games that allegedly mimic a casino experience are getting a kick in the pants in Florida. Just last week the Seminole County Commission voted unanimously to ban as they termed it, “the use of simulated gambling devices”. The Commission gave businesses using such devices a deadline of February 1st to shut down. Now, like dominos, other counties in Florida are following their lead.
Volusia County councilwoman Pat Northey issued statements indicating that the county was looking into how they would be handling certain types of Internet Cafes that border on the legal grey area of gambling.
While the Seminole County Commission used a recent report by the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling to back their reasons for the ban, for other counties in Florida, cutting out Internet Cafes won’t be as easy.
As we have seen with gambling in it’s various forms, whether the push is to expand it or shut it down, somewhere along the line resistance will be met. Sometimes even, gambling fights gambling. But a matter to consider for Florida counties is the many Internet Cafes run by the nonprofit group Allied Veterans of the World Inc. and its Affiliates. This organization donates thousands of dollars to veteran groups and service agencies in the state and certainly would have something to say in the matter if legislation was being pushed to cut them out of picture.
But the issue at hand is the legal grey area. At what point, and with what service do Internet Cafes cross the line? And where’s the proof? These are the questions that need to be answered and sweeping bans don’t necessarily address the main issue.
To state the obvious, there’s a novel way to address the grey area, here’s a hint, New Jersey and California are leading the charge.