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The Villages
Thursday, April 25, 2024

Sumter County hoping to shut down internet cafe operating without permit

Sumter County is seeking to close a Wildwood internet cafe that the county claims has continued to operate for two years without a permit.

Spin the Wheel Internet Cafe is still in business after a permit was denied in 2022, according to the complaint filed March 12 by County Attorney Jennifer Rey.

The cafe was denied a permit because the owner, MK3 Plus Software, was registered in Georgia, but not in Florida, according to county records. The cafe also was cited for code and security violations.

In November, Sumter County Special Magistrate R. Lee Hawkins imposed a $100 daily fine beginning in December if the cafe remained in violation of county ordinances.

The complaint, which requests a court injunction to close the cafe, also seeks $14,356 in code enforcement fines, attorney’s fees and other costs.

At their meeting Tuesday night, commissioners approved permit renewals for two cafes after they extended permits for five cafes last month.

Permits were renewed for Coconuts, operated by Gold Rush Vending, and Sunshine Arcade, operated by Sunshine 10. Both are located on U.S. 27-441 in Lady Lake. Both have had no violations over the past year.

County Administrator Bradley Arnold said another cafe has indicated it would not seek permit renewal.

A county ordinance approved two years ago requires cafes to file for one-year, renewable operating permits. They must meet standards that include hiring security guards, installing security systems and closing down between midnight and 5 a.m.

The ordinance came after residents complained about loitering, theft and other issues near some cafes.

Internet cafes skirt Florida gambling laws by offering cash or prizes to customers who play well on video games.

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