Fla. begins second round of gambling suspect arrests

Apr 7, 2014 10:38 AM

Apparently a pair of Floridians didn’t believe state officials when they said they would arrest and prosecute operators of Internet cafes. Last year, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement nabbed and prosecuted dozens of Internet café operators suspected of conducting illegal gambling.

Last week, a police task force served search warrants in six Florida counties, targeting operations run by Ivan Vega of Lake Mary and Peter Miller of Neptune Beach. Vega was arrested on a warrant charging him with keeping a gambling house, running a lottery and other charges.

Commenting on the task force, Florida Prosecutor Nicholas Cox was quoted as saying, “I hope it’s becoming clear to people that this is illegal. It’s amazing for me that after all that has happened, we find ourselves here again.”

No mention was made of just how much money was involved in the Internet café operation.

In his piece for the Associated Press, Mike Schneider noted that before Florida lawmakers banned Internet cafes last year, the businesses in Florida and elsewhere that rely on electronic sweepstakes often operated in a gray area.

The operators argued that they are legal sweepstakes because there’s a predetermined number of winners, similar to a McDonald’s Monopoly game or Coca-Cola’s cap contest.

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