JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- First Coast news is taking a look back at the sometimes troubled past of internet sweepstakes cafe operations and the vocal defender of the gambling business who investigators have arrested.
FCN has interviewed attorney Kelly Mathis before about the internet cafes. And during that interview, he defended his client.
Investigators say Mathis is one of the alleged masterminds of Operation Reveal the Deal. FCN captured video of Mathis while he was in custody in Seminole County.
In the past, FCN has spoken with Mathis about his client, Allied Veterans of the World. He was interviewed by FCN after there was a robbery and shooting at an internet cafe near Orlando in 2011.
"I think it's a shame that the sheriff's office is blaming a legitimate business for a robbery by brazen criminals that come in. That's like blaming a bank for a bank robbery. It's not the bank, it's not the robbers, it's the business," Mathis told us in 2011.
Mathis went on to explain how the business works.
"They can simply ask the cashier, did I win anything on the sweepstakes. The cashier can hit two buttons and tell them whether or not they've won a prize."
He explained how someone can take their time, finding out if they won.
"Or, the customer can go over to one of the terminals and they can spend an hour or two revealing their sweepstakes entries."
First Coast News