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The Villages
Monday, September 20, 2021

Commissioner contends fish games arcades gathering place for ‘bad intentions’

More fish games arcades are opening in Sumter County after nearby counties have cracked down on them.

Sumter County Commissioner Doug Gilpin said he responded to complaints last weekend in the Lake Panasoffkee area about possibly satanic images painted on the front of one arcade.

Commissioner Doug Gilpin

The arcade operators apparently allowed some of their young patrons to tag graffiti near the front door. After the complaints, Gilpin said the building was repainted in a neutral color.

“They’re opening up everywhere,” Gilpin said. “It’s just not compatible with the county.”

Some fish games arcades skirt the edge of illegal gambling by allowing players to amass points they can trade for cash or prizes. Many of the games involve shooting fish on the screens.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office began closing some arcades recently after commissioners approved an ordinance restricting them earlier this year.

The crackdown there and in other counties could be attracting them to Sumter County.

Gilpin called for a similar enforcement effort.

“It’s a gathering place for people who have bad intentions,” he said.

Commissioner Oren Miller said he’s also received complaints and talk of vigilante efforts if the county takes no action.

“They’re already talking about how to take this into their own hands,” he said.

County Administrator Bradley Arnold said he will confer with the sheriff’s office and county attorney to determine what enforcement efforts could be done.

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