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Local reaction to House vote ban on Internet cafes in Florida

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Posted: Friday, March 22, 2013 5:33 pm | Updated: 9:01 pm, Sat Apr 20, 2013.

SUNCOAST - In Tallahassee, state lawmakers have passed House Bill 1-55. The bill would ban internet cafes across the state.

While the Florida Senate has yet to vote, today's House vote is being met with mixed feelings.

Internet cafes are like adult arcades, where people can get something to eat while playing electronic games, like online black jack, but the new bill would put a stop to that.

The vote for House Bill 1-55 passed with 108 to 7 in favor of the measure to make internet cafes illegal.

Many say the ban is the result of the investigation into allied veterans of the world, a charity that ran dozens of internet cafes including two here on the Suncoast.

In that case the owners were accused of running a 290 million illegal gambling business and pocketing most of the money.

But supporters of internet cafes say a lot of people will suffer for the mistakes of a few.

"Why punish all internet cafes for a few bad apples that have done that, why make us suffer for it," says one supporter.

"I think it’s a big mistake but their politics are their politics," says another supporter.

The internet cafe we went to has three locations. A total of about 30 jobs will be lost if they close. The Senate expected to vote on their versions of the bill in following weeks.

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