Is it Legal? Commissioners Voice Concerns About Internet Cafes

By: Candace Sweat Email
By: Candace Sweat Email

Original story is linked below

About a dozen people showed up to the county commission meeting wearing shirts that said "save our internet access".

But some people argue that the businesses they represent are actually gambling facilities, not internet cafes.

"The one I walked into, make no mistake about it, it was gambling in its purest sense. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, it's a duck," said County Commissioner, Byran Desloge.

Despite growing concern, the Leon County Commission voted 5-2 to delay making an official ordinance that would regulate internet cafes.

Instead, they agreed to wait and see what happens during the state's legislative session before taking action.

"I walked up to this internet cafe and the first thing I saw was sevens and cherries all around, gambling symbols," said Mark McNees, the pastor of Element3 Church.

"There's not a real significant issue that I've heard about relating to these at this point, and until there's some action in the legislature, maybe the best thing for the county to do is to not do anything at all," said another Leon County resident.

Commissioners went back and forth on the issue for several minutes before taking the vote. Ultimately, Chairman John Daily says the cafes will be regulated, it's just a matter of when.

Commissioner Bryan Desloge pushed for the commission to act sooner, saying he's actually been inside one of the internet cafes and absolutely believes it was a gambling facility.

Other commissioners cautioned against taking action too soon, citing an ongoing case in Seminole County where commissioners passed an ordinance to regulate an internet cafe, the cafe filed a lawsuit saying their rights were violated, and a judge submitted a restraining order on Seminole County.

Leon County Commissioners say they don't want to end up in the same situation.

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