Internet sweepstakes cafe owners close doors after law signed

SPRING HILL, Fla. - On the day that the Governor signed a law making internet sweepstakes cafes illegal, sites from one end of the Tampa Bay area to the other have gone dark.

"Oh yeah, very dark," said Terry Kasberg, owner of Spinners Sweepstakes on Commercial Way in Spring Hill. "It's sad.  A lot of customers are crying as a result of this."

Like the half-dozen or so other cafes we visited today from Hillsborough to Hernando Counties, his place had to go offline, and the signs had to go up on the door.

"People want this," he told me -- standing in the middle of a dark, empty room, full of mice, keyboards and dark monitors. "Why aren't they allowing us to do it?  I mean, this is a decent place, there is no crime here."

In fact, there will be nothing at all here, at least until Terry can figure out his legal liabilities. He's already figured that he's spent about $100,000 of his own money to get this all up and running over the past six months or so.  

"Granted, it's my fault," he said, referring to his investment.  "I know it's my fault, but I didn't expect this."

It was a tough day for Terry -- and the other operators -- who had to send players and workers home.  And that's exactly where Terry wants to send the lawmakers, who he says rushed to judgment on the matter.

"You took my life away." he said.  "I'm going to make sure you don't have a job next year."

While we were waiting to file this report, literally dozens of customers pulled up, shook their heads and told us that they agree with Terry, that Tallahassee is out of touch.  And they'll remember at the polls too.

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