Parts of the Internet café industry have backed regulation, amid an effort by some state lawmakers to ban the businesses. Internet cafes offer computerized games that critics say are like slot machines, though the industry says the games follow sweepstakes laws and are not illegal gambling.
In a ruling last week, Duval County Judge John Moran said the Jacksonville ordinance does not conflict with state laws and is constitutional. The ruling came in a case filed by Smitty’s Internet Bar, a business that was cited by the city for operating without a required permit.
State lawmakers this year considered bills that would have banned or regulated cafes throughout Florida. But the House and Senate could not agree on the issue, and the bills died. An estimated 1,000 Internet cafes have opened in recent years, with many in strip shopping centers.