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Local internet cafe owners worry about new legislation that could shut their doors

12:05 AM, Mar 30, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A local family wants to keep their business.  They are afraid a bill making its way through the Florida State Senate could shut down internet sweepstakes cafes.

Jay McKenzie opened Dockside Gameroom in 2007, and says he operates a legal business, and opened it under Florida law. McKenzie said, "Another individual opened up down the street, and he was actually the first to open, we were the second, and we've been operating ever since."

McKenzie is closely following what's happening in the State Legislature, as lawmakers are actively working on bills that could forever change his café.  He said it's unfair that he opened a business that was legal under Florida law, and now lawmakers could label it illegal.  "We personally have complied with everything the State has asked for," he said.

In comparing this business to that of Allied Veterans of the World, McKenzie said there are many differences. Differences he and some of his customers hope lawmakers will consider in their discussions.  For starters, he explained, "They operated as a charity, we're operated as a for-profit corporation."

"I think Allied got a little bit over the top, they got greedy," said a customer who preferred not to give his name.

McKenzie added, "Right now, they've put a black mark on everybody with what they've done."

While there is an effort to end this type of business in Florida, there is also a strong lobbying effort to allow businesses like McKenzie's to stay open.

First Coast News

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