South Daytona’s initiative to stop simulated gambling continues.
Simulated gambling businesses often are conducting illegal gambling once they open their doors to the public. Some file the required paperwork to be considered a legitimate business while others do not. In either case, cities have come to realize that behind closed doors the winner gets paid. Cash payments are common.
As Hometown News reported last month, City Manager Les Gillis made it clear South Daytona has worked proactively to stop the practice, “We don’t want illegal gambling in this city. We want to stop them before it gets started,” he said.
The nitty-gritty of South Daytona’s City Council meeting June 8 was to amend, add definitions, and revise references to amusement centers as well as amusement arcades within the land development code. All while ensuring the city did not stop the legal arcades, such as Joey B's Bowl-Cade in Sunshine Plaza on South Ridgewood Avenue. This was accomplished by exempting established businesses from the code changes. Only a new business must abide by the new code changes.
Those new code changes are, in short, a business can only have a maximum of 10 amusement games or machines, all 10 of them must be secondary to a principal use. Examples given as principal use were a bar, batting cage, bowling center, go-kart racing, restaurant, skating center or miniature golf. The City Council also initiated a distance requirement. Amusement centers cannot be within 1,000 feet of any school nor located within 400 feet of each other. Finally, the building has to be located in a business general commercial zone.
City Manager Gillis said, “We're trying to tighten up our codes written on amusement centers back in the '90s when internet gambling wasn't a thing, and now it's more prevalent than any of us would like.”
He warned of a snowball effect of illicit activity if simulated gambling went unabated. “It's just seems like if you're willing to take someone's Social Security check, monthly, that you're also going to be dealing drugs on the side and dealing with stolen merchandise,” Mr. Gillis said. “So, we're trying to tighten up our code, get it to where we comply more with state law, and we believe this (the code change resolution) does that.”
Admitting the changes will preclude a Dave and Busters or a Chuck E. Cheese from locating within South Daytona, he explained the chances of that were unlikely to begin with, “We have Dave and Busters in Daytona and it's in Orlando, so the likelihood of one coming to South Daytona is small. Chuck E. Cheese is in Port Orange and Titusville and Jacksonville. So, the likelihood of that coming to South Daytona is small.”
Joey B's Bowl-Cade was never worried. Commenting via Facebook messaging before a reporter informed them the new code restrictions are for new businesses, “We don’t have gambling types of games. We are strictly family entertainment.”
Mr. Gillis had referred to Joey B’s at the City Council meeting. “We're hoping that they come open soon and become a draw for the Sunshine Mall. But again, that's arcade games that's playing Pacman, that’s playing Tetris or whatever.”
South Daytona has had simulated gambling operations in the past. As of this writing, there are no known sites within the city.