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The Villages
Thursday, June 16, 2022

Sumter County files for injunction to shut down another internet cafe

Another Sumter County internet cafe may be closed due to building code violations and an ownership legal issue.

Commissioners Tuesday night authorized filing for an injunction to close Spin the Wheel Internet Cafe of Wildwood and a lawsuit if the business tries to reopen.

The closure is part of an ongoing crackdown on the cafes, also known as adult arcades.

Internet cafes skirt Florida’s gambling laws by offering cash or prizes to customers who play well on video games. Residents have complained about loitering, theft and other issues near the cafes, especially in the Lake Panasoffkee area.

A major problem with Spin the Wheel is that the owner, MK3 Plus Software, is registered in Georgia, but not in Florida, according to county records. The cafe also was cited for several electrical issues, including non-permitted new wiring and unauthorized use of power strips and extension cords.

The cafe is the third in Sumter County to face closure.

Fun Times Cafe, which operated in the former Lake Panasoffkee Moose Lodge, was closed temporarily until code violations are corrected after the business was cited for improper signage, inadequate lighting in the parking lot and the lack of criminal background checks.

Last month, commissioners authorized a lawsuit to close 50K Arcade in Lake Panasoffkee after the business failed to file an operating permit application by the deadline.

Commissioners also approved operating permits for three internet cafes Tuesday night and County Administrator Bradley Arnold reported that many cafes have corrected their code violations.

Permits were approved for Winners World on Buenos Aires Boulevard in The Villages, Dreamers in Lake Panasoffkee and Dreamers in Bushnell.

Kelley Pyles, an investment advisor with Royal Fund Management, said Winners World has caused problems for its neighbors.

Besides customers sleeping in the grass or in vehicles, she said, the manager got into a profanity-laced shouting match with a disgruntled employee picketing the cafe.

“It’s been kind of one thing after another,” she said.

Commissioners advised Pyles to call police for every incident to establish a record.

Arnold reported that many cafes have corrected violations and remain open including Gold Rush Cafe of Lake Panasoffkee, Good Time Arcade of Lady Lake, Lady Dawg’s Cafe of Bushnell, Coconuts of Lady Lake, Il Villagio of Lady Lake, Senior Center of Lady Lake and Senior Social Center of Lady Lake.

Under a new county ordinance, the cafes must file for one-year, renewable operating permits. They also must meet standards that include hiring security guards, installing security systems and closing down between midnight and 5 a.m.

 

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