TALLAHASSEE, Fl. (WFLX) - - (WFLX) - No one in Florida is keeping track of how many Internet cafes are operating, and the lack of a statewide policy has some counties closing them down while still others registering the simulated gambling storefronts.
Internet cafes thrive in a gray area of Florida law, registering as sweepstakes. Just a push of a button can turn computer screens into what looks like a slot machine.
Banning them has become one of the top priorities of several Florida sheriffs in the upcoming legislative session.
"The legislature, we're supposed to solve problems," State Representative Scott Plakon of Longwood said. "And having 500 store front casino's in our state, right next to the dry cleaner, is a problem that needs to be solved."
Many of the storefront cafes have been generous to local charities with their profits, which helped derail efforts last session to regulate them out of business.