Governor Says He'll Sign Internet Cafe Ban

Apr 8, 2013

Cleopatra's Arcade in Boynton Beach may have to shut down. Gov. Rick Scott says he'll sign a ban on internet cafes that includes senior arcades.
Credit Christine DiMattei/WLRN

 Editor's note: This story was written by intern Jordan Michael. 

Internet cafes operate under loopholes in Florida gaming law -- loopholes that will be closed after Gov. Rick Scott signs a bill into law.

The bill will ban Internet cafes, but opponents say it will have unintended consequences like closing arcades tailored to seniors.

Supporters of senior arcades were at the Capitol in the days leading up to the Senate vote. The bill had already passed the House, and they were hoping to convince Senators to tweak the measure so their adult arcades would be left intact.

Kathryn Turi came with a group from South Florida.

“We're here to support and keep our arcades open for all our senior citizens," Turi said.

“Do the right thing for seniors," Joan Sabatino pleaded with legislators. "We don't bother you, why bother us?"

On the Senate floor, Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla discussed his reservations about the bill.

"We're basically lumping in arcades and impeding legal businesses from conducting legal operations that are legally enjoyed by children and seniors,” Diaz de la Portilla said.

The final vote in the Senate was 36 to 4. The nays were all Palm Beach or Broward County Democrats: Sen. Joseph Abruzzo, Sen. Jeff Clemens, Sen. Jeremy Ring, and Sen. Maria Sachs.

The Governor's Office said the bill would go into effect immediately when Gov. Scott signs it.