By Dawn Krebs
ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- At the beginning of April, adult arcades across the county boasted full parking lots and happy patrons.
Now, a few weeks after Governor Rick Scott signed the bill passed by lawmakers banning the arcades, the businesses sit quiet and empty.
Approximately a dozen arcades in the county were affected by the bill that banned not only Internet cafes, but the adult arcades as well.
The bill was a reaction from the state legislature after it was discovered that one particular Internet café, Allied Veterans of the World, that stated it was giving its profits to veterans was actually doing very little for the military group.
Despite protests from the businesses owners and the patrons who attend the arcades, the bill was signed into law on April 10.
The bill, HB 155, gives local law enforcement specific definitions of illegal gambling machines and how to handle suspected violations.
The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office sent a letter to the arcades in the county as a courtesy, which had a copy of HB 155 attached.
The Sheriff's letter states that law enforcement will begin to enforce the arcade law on May 15, but reminded the arcades that their operation might be illegal since the bill was signed on April 10. It also reminded the arcades that the Sheriff's Office is not the only law enforcement that can enforce the arcade law.
Any questions about the arcades were asked to be directed to the Sheriff's Office legal department. Arcade owners were also urged to contact their own legal counsel about future operations.