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New law is forcing businesses to shut down sweepstakes games

7:35 PM, Apr 17, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Small businesses across the city are pulling the plug on sweepstakes games that generated cash not only for them but for the city as well.  

These games are included in the law signed by Governor Rick Scott last week that removed internet sweepstakes action from the state's landscape.

"We are completely legal. We are not doing anything wrong," said Preston Waldrop who owns along with his mother St. Nick's Lounge off Atlantic Boulevard.

His neighborhood bar had six machines that have been turned off since last Thursday. The machines have signs telling people to contact Governor Scott if they would like them back on.

"It hurts me, my family, the employees families. Hurts customers themselves," said Waldrop who declined to talk about how much the sweepstakes games generated in cash.

Jonathan Fanning is in the business of placing those games in bars and lounges and splits with them the revenue they make.

Fanning along with his mom operate Gator Coin that also is in the arcade game business.

"The law pretty much pulled the rug from all of them. It is probably going to affect hundreds of jobs," said Fanning who doesn't believe lawmakers understand the scope of their decision.

"The law is so broad and vague it includes games that your kids and my kids play on every day...some are exempt because of the size of them," said Fanning who hopes the law opens eyes and is some day changed.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office over the weekend sent letters to internet cafes and business that operate sweepstakes games reminding them of the law.

The sheriff's office is asking businesses to voluntarily comply, but the letter also points out officers will in the near future be out making sure they do.

First Coast News

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