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Lake County Commission delays vote on banning internet cafes

In this image from video, attorney Kelly Mathis addresses the Lake County Commission on Tuesday. Image: Lake County Commission

When it comes to public hearings to ban simulated gambling houses, the Lake County Commission knows when to hold ’em.

And when to put them off until April.

Sheriff Peyton Grinnell is urging commissioners to outlaw the game rooms in unincorporated Lake County. He says it would reduce crime, citing numerous break-ins, thefts, robberies and drug offenses.

But Jacksonville attorney Kelly Mathis, who represents a company that provides software for internet cafes, told the commission there are other ways to address safety, like using off-duty deputies.

“We think there are a lot of better solutions to closing down 15-plus businesses, with landlords not receiving rent, with 50 employees losing their jobs, but even more so, the hundreds and hundreds of customers that enjoy these places. They like them,” the lawyer said.

Commissioners said they wanted to allow business owners to respond to the proposed ordinance and tabled the issue. They’ll revisit it in April.

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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.