Ruling Limits Lawsuit Against Internet Cafés

Judge Allows Computer Gaming Room To Remain Open

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Two of three claims in a civil lawsuit filed by Jacksonville Greyhound Racing Inc. seeking to shut down local gaming rooms, better known as Internet cafés, were dismissed by a judge.

The suit claimed that Allied Veterans of the World and similar businesses in northeast Florida were disguising Internet computer sweepstakes as illegal gambling. Circuit Court Judge Jean Johnson dismissed claims that Allied Veterans was involved in deceptive and unfair trade practices and racketeering activity, but allowed the claim that the game rooms were a public nuisance to go forward.

Law enforcement agencies throughout Florida have also questioned whether the Internet gaming rooms constitute gambling.

Allied Veterans own several Internet cafés that offer computer sweepstakes contests. The games can reward players hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars. Contestants have to pay to play.

Court Document:Allied Veterans Court Order

?Customers purchase Internet time on the computers at the fair market value and receive additional services including beverages, snacks, printing, copying and faxing," Allied Veterans' attorney Kelly Mathis said in a statement. "As an incentive for the sale of Internet time, the customer receives free entries to participate in a sweepstakes and the results are revealed on the desktop computers.?

Johnson did allow Greyhound Racing to move forward with with its claim that the gaming rooms are a public nuisance. A trial date on that issue was not scheduled.

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