Internet cafe ban bill: Florida House passes bill banning Internet cafes, adult arcades

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Internet cafes across the state could soon be forced to close their doors.

The Florida House on Friday overwhelming approved a ban on the gambling establishments.

The House voted 108-7 in favor of House Bill 155. It now goes over to the Florida Senate, which is considering a similar measure.

Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, predicts the bill will be sent to Gov. Rick Scott before the session ends.

Those backing the ban called Internet cafes a "cancer" that has spread throughout neighborhoods across the state.

The push for the ban comes in the wake of arrests and the resignation of Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll.

Carroll has not been accused of any wrongdoing but she did work for a company involved in the business while she was a legislator.

If the proposed bill becomes law, some business owners say they will lose everything.

"It's almost like an adult Chuck E. Cheese. You're just not going home with stuffed animals," said Jan Prieto, who is trying to open an adult arcade in Port St. Lucie.

Prieto said players at adult arcades get prizes like gift cards, not money. She recently quit her job and dumped her life savings into her new business venture.

"They're sitting here collecting more dust," said Prieto.

The sponsor of HB 155 House Rep. Carlos Trujillo did not respond to calls or email.

In the past, Trujillo has called the operations illegal.

"I just don't think it's fair we're getting lumped into this. You know it's not just me, it's thousands of jobs that people are going to be out," said Prieto.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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