Money machine: Florida Internet cafes a front for easy gambling 

WHAT: “Internet sweepstakes cafes” in Florida strip malls let customers buying Internet time or phone cards play computerized “sweepstakes” games for “points” that can be redeemed for cash jackpots as high as $15,000.

HOW BIG: There are nearly 1,000 sweepstakes cafes statewide and they gross more than $1 billion yearly. They are also accused of being irresistible “convenience casinos” for compulsive gamblers and a magnet for armed robberies.

WHAT’S BEING DONE: To date, legislation to ban the sweepstakes cafes has been beaten back by fierce lobbying from the cash-laden industry. County sheriffs are seeking legal ways to drive the casinos out of their localities.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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