Jacksonville ordinance regulating Internet Cafes upheld by judge

in Uncategorized by

 A Duval County judge has  upheld the constitutionality of a Jacksonville ordinance that regulates Internet cafes.

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.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.