By Kelly Mathis, Sun-Sentinel
It’s time to set the record straight regarding Internet cafes in Florida.
Under Florida law, Internet cafes are not gambling and are legal. Internet cafes offer game promotions, which have been legal in Florida since 1971, as a marketing tool to promote the sale of retail products, such as telephone minutes and most recently, Internet time.
Our electronic game promotions are no different than peel-backs at your favorite fast food restaurants or online surveys on receipts from large retailers and restaurants to electronically reveal a consumer has won a prize. In fact, over 6,700 game promotions are filed with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services each year — many by Fortune 500 companies. To state — as many media outlets have — that customers “gamble” during their visits to local Internet cafes is simply false.
Further, to label these businesses as “strip mall casinos” is an unfair and inaccurate mischaracterization of these businesses. Many of our patrons cannot access the Internet from home and use our Internet cafes to browse the Internet, pay their bills online, prepare resumes and submit job applications, purchase telephone minutes and check their personal email.
Read more: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/opinion/fl-internet-cafe-forum-20110530,0,4794566.story