Internet Cafes: What's Next?

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, FL -- March 16, 2012 --

In Hillsborough County, internet cafes are illegal, but in Tampa a businessman is opening new ones.

“We made sure to contact the proper authorities, before, during and after,” said Richard Ratcliff.

And those authorities, the Tampa City Government, said go ahead, because they lack the power to ban the new gaming businesses.

The situation is similar here in Tallahassee, where there is no city ordinance against internet cafes, but the county won’t allow any new ones to open.

How they are regulated varies from town to town and county to county. The Florida House voted for consistency, outlawing them statewide.

But the Senate never took up the legislation. They had their own bill with statewide regulations, but it failed too. Representative Scott Plakon sponsored the bill to ban. He plans to bring it back next year and is asking lawmakers to do their homework.

“I’d challenge some members to walk into them,” said Plakon.

And with no action from lawmakers, there will be plenty of new internet cafes to visit.

“We had a thousand of them this year up from 500 the year before. I’d say probably by next year we will have 15 hundred,” said Plakon.

Those new cafes will have to locate in cities and counties without bans, which means, if the industry continues to grow, areas where they’re still legal will see a huge surge. Only two counties have completely outlawed the games, Hillsborough and Seminole. Both of those bans are being challenged in court. Also the state has the authority to regulate internet cafes awarding prizes exceeding five thousand dollars. Ten businesses in the state fall under the state regulation.

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  • by Frankie Location: Tallahassee on Mar 18, 2012 at 11:38 PM
    The State should close the darned loophole, don't need to have these bloodsuckers on every street corner with such easy, convenient access for stupid people to go and gamble away their rent and grocery money.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 19, 2012 at 06:35 AM in reply to Frankie
      Absolutely! The state doesn't need the competition. There are just not enough stupid people around to support the state run lottery and internet cafes.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 19, 2012 at 07:30 AM in reply to Frankie
      Why should the government go out of their way to help stupid people? The real question is why should I pay to help stupid people?
  • by Dr. Ga Ga on Mar 18, 2012 at 03:12 AM
    The Florida Lottery is the biggest gambling enterprise in our state by far. Could it be that the state sees internet cafe as competition for its own nasty little enterprise?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 18, 2012 at 01:32 PM in reply to Dr. Ga Ga
      No, they see these internet cafe's as competition to the big casinos they want to bring in. Do you keep up with what's going on at all?
      • reply
        by Dr. Ga Ga on Mar 19, 2012 at 03:35 AM in reply to
        I keep up enough to know that the same Legislature that sent the big casinos packing now have their sights set on the internet cafe industry.
        • reply
          by Gerry on Mar 19, 2012 at 05:38 AM in reply to Dr. Ga Ga
          I love internet cafes!
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Mar 19, 2012 at 05:59 AM in reply to Dr. Ga Ga
          There will be a new legislature next year.
  • by Jim Location: Tallahassee on Mar 17, 2012 at 09:28 AM
    You mean I can't set up my new internet cafe in Leon County? I want to set one up. There's big money in that stuff, and I have at least a year to run with it. If I have to set it up in Gadsden County I guess that would be ok. Kind of a commute though.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 17, 2012 at 09:47 AM in reply to Jim
      You would make a bad business owner. Put the cafe where the most customers are. The commute doesn't matter. A business has the primary goal to make money and succeed, and if you put this at risk by not selecting the proper placement this makes you less than desirable as a business owner.
  • by Ned Location: Tallahassee on Mar 17, 2012 at 06:40 AM
    What's next? Wh$re houses are next, that follows gambling.
    • reply
      by dog on Mar 17, 2012 at 07:30 AM in reply to Ned
      It's already happening at the Cafe's your just going to the wrong ones. As the saying goes FOLLOW THE MONEY.
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