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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  • by freddie Location: alachua county on Apr 11, 2011 at 11:51 AM
    I can only speak for the cafes that are registered under "Allied Veterans" since they are the ones that I frequent. After doing extensive search on material concerning this particular organization, I was very pleased to notice the amounts of charitable donations that they make to our communities. This along with the fact that they provide free services of copies and fax as well as free internet services to people that would normally not be able to have access to such services. This alone seems a very good reason for our agitating legislature to leave them in tact. Not only is it a relaxing, pleasant atmosphere, they do serve the community.
  • by Tim Martin Location: Spring Hill on Mar 21, 2011 at 02:41 PM
    I use the internet cafe to go to school. If it werent for these places I dont know how my education would continue because I am an online student. I am from Spring Hill, Florida......Tim
  • by Gail Gormley Location: Clearwater,Fl on Mar 14, 2011 at 06:03 PM
    Why don,t you guys put your heads together and figure out a way to regulate them like the bingo halls.... and leave them alone !
  • by taylor Location: tallahassee on Feb 24, 2011 at 02:34 PM
    ok... you people that are saying to shut them down. tell me, how much do you give to the childrens hostpital? do you have kids? what if one of them got cancer? im sure you would be thanking the internet cafes then! they donate hundreds of thousand of dollars! i suggest people that THINK they know what they do but dont do thir research should keep their comments to their self... and i would like to know why you care what other people do with their money anyways. you say it brings around dirty ppl? actually the internet cafes are keeping them off the streets by having a place where your so called "dirty people" can go all night long, you idiots! Cancer runs in my family and I sure as hell support what they are doing!
    • reply
      by Tim Martin on Mar 21, 2011 at 02:43 PM in reply to taylor
      Very well put I agree Taylor......Tim
  • by Uncle Willie Location: Land-o-the-free on Feb 24, 2011 at 05:08 AM
    You Internet cafe people can't just open a business and offer a service to the public. This is America by golly and if the moral majority disagrees with the choices you make about how you live your life then you are out of business. If you don't like it, then move to...anyway, these Internet cafes are killing children, spreading the plague, and ruining the economy. The ruination of these vile institutions MUST be priority number 1of every elected official.
    • reply
      by freddie on Apr 11, 2011 at 11:50 AM in reply to Uncle Willie
      To you, Uncle Willie, it seems that you are mis understanding what the term "freedom of choice" means. It does not mean that I am "free" to choose only what the person standing next to me wants, but it means that I have the right to make my own choices and for killing children and spreading plaggues, were speaking of a quiet relaxed atmosphere where no one under the age of 18 is even allowed, you obviously have these place mixed up with the local brothel that you attend!!!!!
  • by Cafe supporter Location: Tallahassee on Feb 23, 2011 at 06:39 PM
    Why do these internet cafes bother you people so much? Concern yourselves with real issues like asking that idiot governor you all elected about those 700,000 jobs he promised, or protesting the bill to have guns on college campuses. Internet cafes should be the last issue on the agenda for the legislature this summer. The money these people are spending doesn't belong to you. If not the internet cafe, the will spend it other ways.!!!!!
    • reply
      by freddie on Apr 19, 2011 at 08:23 PM in reply to Cafe supporter
      so many issues, so little time, but yet people seem to have petty comments about things that dont concern them!!!!! YOU are absolutely correct!
  • by say what? on Feb 23, 2011 at 01:47 PM
    If these places provide access to the Internet, then what the individuals/customers DO with that access is their own business. If you regulate them, you'll have to regulate ALL places that provide access to the Internet for the public... McDonalds, Starbucks, hotel chains, etc.
  • by mike Location: Quincy on Feb 23, 2011 at 12:55 PM
    All you peoples who have a problem with the internet cafes should just understand the good that these business bring to the community, they are creating jobs,paying taxes and also given to charitys. Let me ask a question why do we always look at the negative of thing and not the postive? People we need to wake up and stop comparing apples to oranges, I can say playing the lottery is gambling with all the differnt scratch off tickets, the meg-ball, etc. Have you ever purchase a lottery ticket? if the answer is yes you are gambling to. So stop hating and let people have a little fun, they are all adults you must be 18 to enter, my job is in outreach in the community and this entertainment help a many retire people past the day alone. So leaves these people alone.
  • by me Location: tally on Feb 23, 2011 at 11:47 AM
    all this internet cafes are taking money away from the lottery,and this means they are taking money away from education,which the lottery is contributing too,the STATE should step in and stop all internet cafes accross the entire state,this will put more law enforcement in the streets where they belong than investigating and wasting tax payer money on internet cafes
    • reply
      by agnes on Jun 2, 2011 at 03:49 PM in reply to me
      what about hard rock close it down
  • by hello on Feb 23, 2011 at 10:06 AM
    The sheriff had no problem closing down dating services. What's wrong with closing down gambling places within walking distances of our high schools!
    • reply
      by freddie on Apr 19, 2011 at 08:22 PM in reply to hello
      there's a bingo hall up the street from a school in my neighborhood......should it be closed also?
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