What is an Internet Cafe?

By: Lanetra Bennett

With all of the talk of Internet Cafes in the headlines, we decided to take a look at what they are and their growing popularity.

Melissa Meadows says she's been going to Internet cafes for three years.

"My husband and I love to take a trip to Biloxi, but, with the economic times, it's hard to take those trips very often," said Melissa Meadows, Internet Cafe Customer.

None of the managers would allow us to show the inside at all of the internet cafes we visited in Tallahassee, however, customers gave an idea of what goes on inside of them.

"Basically when you come in, you put your money down on the sweepstakes and then you sit at your computer terminal and you play the game," Meadows said. "You can allow the game to spin freely or you can stop the games."

Indy.com describes Internet, or sweepstakes cafes by saying players "buy time," on the computers, and players win credits in the online sweepstakes that are then transferred back into cash. Unlike slot machines, prizes are paid to winners based on predetermined sweepstakes systems, not by chance.

One 2012 report says Internet cafes have rapidly expanded to roughly one thousand to 15-hundred locations in Florida generating an estimated one billion dollars in annual revenue.

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