Well, it's official. Florida governor Rick Scott signed into legislation the "Internet Cafe Ban," which effectively closed down around 1,000 such establishments in the state. The ban went into effect immediately, though some cafes shut their doors a week ago under the assumption that the ban would go through.
A report in Florida Today
paints a picture of displaced senior citizens who had been meeting at the cafes to socialize with one another, hop on the Internet
, and for legal gambling, the latter of which is what prompted the ban in the first place.
Image Source: Flickr (Ollie Crafoord)
"I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't go bar-hopping. This is my entertainment," 59-year-old Pat Nash told Florida Today
. Nash was a worker at the Mardi Gras Internet cafe in Melbourne who now finds herself headed to the unemployment office. She said she was disheartened by the governor's decision to ban Internet cafes.
The ban was a result of a multi-year investigation into illegal gambling
at Internet cafes run by Allied Veterans of the World. The organization was found to be running a $290 million illegal gambling ring in which most of the money ended up in the owners' pockets. Some 57 owners and operators associated with Allied Veterans were arrested before the ban was signed into law.