Florida Senior Cafés Reopening Using a New Model in an Attempt to Distance Themselves from Internet Cafés

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing saga of Florida’s internet cafés.  These mini slot parlors and casinos were definitively banned after a massive operation took down a $300 million internet café.  Owners of these illegal gambling sites put forth a lawsuit attempting to prevent its enforcement, thus keeping them open so they could fight the legislation.  The injunction was denied but that hasn’t deterred certain owners from reopening under new guidelines.  The Sun Sentinel explains:

More than three months after a new state law forced senior arcades into retirement, the low-stakes, adults-only gaming venues are re-emerging across South Florida, with their owners and patrons playing by a new set of rules.

The law doesn’t call for an outright ban on senior arcades, but its restrictions, such as not allowing gift cards to be awarded as prizes, make them less attractive to players. As a result, senior arcades disappeared from South Florida.

In recent weeks, however, about 40 have reopened, complying with the law by offering retrofitted, coin-operated gaming devices and paper towels and cookware as prizes.

Those that operate Senior Arcades claim they are not the same as the more harmful and wide spread internet cafés.  They claim to be operating more like a Chuck E. Cheese that gives prizes based on coupons.  However, they originally dealt in cash gift cards, not simple prizes. Each owner seems to be opening up in different ways and each try to view their business as something other than playing slots for prizes, or gambling.  However, they are still offering prizes of up to $50 in value for 75 cents worth of slot machine credit. The Sun Sentinel continues:

Most senior-arcade managers say they’re trying to work within the law, rather than defy it. At Casablanca Game Room in Lauderhill, players buy at least $10 in tokens, play until they notch 75 cents, and then redeem their credits for prizes worth from $10 to $50, such as a set of nonstick frying pans or glassware. The room reopened on July 10 after being closed for three months.

“I just want the gift cards back,” says William Larkins, 86, of Sunrise. “You have to work much harder to win something now.”

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