Saturday April 5,2014 : SIX ARRESTS FOR INTERNET CAFE GAMBLING IN FLORIDA (Update)
State and local police swoop across six counties.
More detail is now available on Thursday's reports that local and Florida police were about to release details on a fresh enforcement initiative against internet cafe gambling
At a press conference late Thursday, enforcement officials said that search and arrest warrants had been executed across six counties in the latest operation, and six arrests of internet cafe managers and owners had been made.
The enforcement task force was headed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and targeted operations run by Ivan Vega of Lake Mary and Peter Miller of Neptune Beach. Vega was arrested on a warrant from an earlier investigation on charges of keeping a gambling house, running a lottery and other charges, and is being held without bond.
In addition, more than two dozen businesses in Brevard, Columbia, Duval, Lake, Marion and Seminole counties were visited and searched, authorities said.
Five Internet cafe managers were arrested, and other detentions are expected, said Jim Madden, assistant commissioner of the FDLE.
The businesses had names like "Lucky Joes Sweepstakes" and "Lucky Shamrock Arcade," and some reportedly operated in a similar – and now illegal – fashion as the Allied Veterans internet cafes, which were the subject of massive interstate police busts last year and a number of prosecutions
At other businesses, customers would come in and pay a large sum of money for a piece of clothing like jeans or a hat and then apply the difference between what they paid and what the clothing was worth toward gambling, authorities said.
"I hope it's becoming clear to people that this is illegal," said state prosecutor Nicholas Cox at the news conference. "It's amazing for me that after all that has happened, we find ourselves here again."