Florida Internet cafes try to find ways to reopen
New law forces cafes to shut down or revamp machines
While some internet cafe owners look for ways to retrofit their machines, others are preparing to fight the new law passed by Governor Rick Scott on Wednesday.
Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson says the 16 Internet cafes in his jurisdiction have all shut down on Thursday and his deputies will give a one-time warning if they find any gas stations or restaurants with illegal machines.
"They spit in the face of the seniors of this state and the veterans," said Gale Fontaine, president of the Florida Arcade Association, which is preparing to file a lawsuit against the state.
Fontaine says places like Chuck E. Cheese and Dave and Busters, which have chance games, are being affected by the new rules as well, but she believes enforcement will be selective.
"Are the police really going to back themselves up into Chuckie Cheese and start arresting little children and their parents for playing a game that the Florida Legislature just made illegal," she said.
The law allows only games that require skill, prize values under 75 cents, players cannot accumulate points, and machines must be coin operated.
Local agencies have the job of enforcing the law.
"I would recommend anybody who does have a gambling machine to get rid of it, or else they will be charged with a felony," said Johnson.
Kay Dang works at the hair salon a few doors down from EZ Play Internet Cafe in Deltona, and she says the cafe was giving her a lot of business.
"They come here, get their manicure done, pedicure, facial, waxing," she said.