Cocoa Beach may ban casinos, card rooms

Commissioner Skip Williams wants town to stay 'family-friendly'

COCOA BEACH, Fla. - Cocoa Beach leaders stand poised to outlaw Las Vegas-style casinos, professional card rooms and Internet gaming cafés from city limits.

Thursday, the Cocoa Beach City Commission will give first reading to an ordinance banning gambling establishments. Commissioner Skip Williams proposed this prohibition in November, saying he prefers to keep the town "family-friendly."

Second, final votes could be cast July 18, Local 6 News partner Florida Today reported.

Per code, city officials cannot issue business-tax receipts to businesses that operate arcade-style gaming machines, Tony Caravella, director of development services, told commissioners.

But if the Florida Legislature expands gambling, Williams publicly worried that a developer could sue the city and try to open a casino.

According to the ordinance, "numerous studies have shown that commercial gambling establishments can bring increased crime, greater traffic, noise and other nuisance impacts to the area."

The ordinance would not affect bingo, neighborhood poker games, bowling tournaments or carnival-style games where coupons or points are exchanged for merchandise.

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