Computers at Internet cafes go offline

Gov. Rick Scott signs ban on gaming machines

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - As soon as Governor Rick Scott signed the ban on Internet cafes Wednesday, the computers at the Lucky 7 Cyber Cafe on Jacksonville's Westside went offline.

"We weren't notified that he was signing," said Robin Rukab, Owner of Lucky 7 Cyber Cafe. "No one notified us, our service was just cut. Frontier, our service vendor must have known and they cut our service."

At the Copacabana, an Internet cafe on Normandy Boulevard, customers were told the Internet cafe was being shut down.

"Did he think about all the people who lost jobs? No, he did not," said a cafe worker.

"That's what he ran on and now he turned around," said another cafe worker. "In Jacksonville, at least 600 people lost jobs."

Workers who are now out of a job said they feel that they have been unfairly targeted after the Allied Veterans scandal.

Others have been critical of the new law because facilities around the state that allow games of chance are still open.

Senator John Thrasher spearheaded the legislation and spoke to Channel 4 over the phone.

"Our law is very specific. We allow certain kinds of gaming under Florida law. Poker rooms or the dog tracks, those kinds of things," said Thrasher. "They've been law since the 1920s. That's a carve out and it's highly regulated and highly taxed."

As for the hundreds out of work, Thrasher said the vote didn't close anything down, but refines what gambling is in the state of Florida.

"I don't think any of us who care about this great state want to condone illegal activity," said Thrasher. "It may not have been their choice or they may not have understood it was illegal, but I hope they find other suitable work or these facilities re-tool these kinds of machines they had, so they're legal machines and people can continue to work there."

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