PUNTA GORDA, Fla.- On April 10, Governor Rick Scott signed into law CS/HB 155 making the operation of Internet Cafes, adult arcades and Sweepstakes illegal. This legislation had an immediate effect upon 19 businesses in Charlotte County.
Shortly after the bill became law, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office began making individual contact with each of the businesses in the county. The initial contact was to request voluntary compliance by the business owners with the new law. Since then, each business has been contacted at least twice.
On May 2, Sheriff’s Office members again conducted checks of the local adult arcades. Of the 19 such businesses, only two of them were found to be in violation of the new law. Those two businesses were Key West Casino, on Sandhill Blvd., and Kings Club, on JC Central Ct. Management at both establishments were placed on notice that they were operating in violation of the gambling laws of Florida. They were again asked to voluntarily comply with the law. A second check of those two businesses found them to be shut down.
There have been instances elsewhere in the state of owners and employees being criminally charged with violations of gambling laws. Sheriff Bill Prummell commends those Charlotte County businesses that have voluntarily complied with this new law, while warning that continued unlawful operation or patronage of Internet Cafes, Sweepstakes or Adult Arcades could result in owners, employees and patrons facing criminal prosecution.