Daytona Beach shuts down reopened cyber cafe

Man owns cyber cafe in Jacksonville that remains open

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Pete Miller owns several Internet cafes in Jacksonville, but his one in Daytona Beach has been shut down.

City code enforcement shut down Pete's Retreat VII Cyber Cafe on Tuesday, less than 48 hours after it opened, saying the Internet gambling business is illegal, according to city code, among other infractions.

But Miller says the cafes open in Jacksonville are the same.

"The fact of the matter is we're legal," Miller said. "Our software complies with the laws the way they are written right now. We wouldn't do it. I have a wife and kids. I like going home to them at night. I don't want to get in legal trouble."

The city of Daytona Beach says the business wasn't shut down because it's an Internet cafe, but because that type of business is not zoned for that area and it never got a business tax receipt, among other issues.

Miller, however, believes there is more to it.

"The state of Florida doesn't want us here anymore," he said. "They thought they had closed this whole industry down. What they didn't count on is that we looked at the law, and we basically rewrote our software to comply with the law."

Pete's Cyber Cafe is just one of several to reopen in Jacksonville after the state Legislature outlawed them months ago in the wake of the Allied Veterans of the World scandal.

It's up to each city to enforce the ban, and so far, Miller says they've had no issues in Jacksonville.

"Jacksonville's been wonderful. They've sent their people in to inspect it," he said. "I know we're being investigated. We've given them our legal opinion letters, we've shown them the software, and we've been left alone so far."

A Jacksonville Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said police are aware of the open cafes and issued this statement:

"We continue to work with the State Attorney's Office to determine if violation(s) are occurring, and will continue to look into complaints and enforce the law. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office cannot discuss any active investigations or enforcement activity."

Miller said his cyber cafe is not done in Daytona Beach yet. He said he's talking to lawyers addressing the code enforcement issues. Once corrected, he plans to reopen.

In Jacksonville, the group has a new cafe under construction.