Internet cafes make comeback in Marion County

By Kristin Giannas, Reporter, kgiannas@clickorlando.com
Tyler Vazquez, ClickOrlando.com staff
Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:21:05 PM EST
Updated On: Nov 07 2013 07:02:00 PM EST

Internet cafes are opening back up in Marion County after being outlawed back in April.

OCALA, Fla. -

Back in April, Governor Rick Scott signed a law that banned Internet cafes like the ones that have started cropping back up in Marion County after months of absence.

The Palms Internet Cafe on State Road 200 in Ocala closed down when the law went into effect but recently reopened. The Ocala Star Banner is reporting that another Internet cafe in Belleview on U.S. 441 reopened.

A Palms Internet Cafe employee told Local 6 that there was nothing illegal about their operations.

This comes after two Internet cafes in Brevard County were shut down on Wednesday after a long investigation where police said owners attempted to manipulate the law.

Diane Schaffer is a nurse in the area whose patients have had troubles with the cafes in the past.

One patient "didn't have any money at the end of the month for food because she was spending it on stuff like this," Schaffer said. "To me, that's not fair to people who can't afford it."

Loyal customers like Bob Schultz, a self-proclaimed snowbird from Michigan who said he goes everyday, would disagree.

"I think it's a terrible shame that they were outlawed in the first place," Schultz said, upset that the state banned one of his favorite things to do. "I'm going to pay my normal $20, and if I win something, fine. If I don't, I lose."

One man named Nick, who declined to give his last name, said he doesn't see the problem with Internet cafes but offered his thoughts on how they should be regulated.

"I think if they're going to have it, they should make it legal and have them pay taxes and everything like Vegas," he said.

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