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Woman and her daughter found guilty of running a gambling house at Two Palms Cyber Caf

UPDATED
January 22, 2015
By Jennie Gutierrez

Sharlyne Miller was found guilty of 35 felony charges related to running a gambling house and operating an illegal lottery out of the Two Palms Cyber Cafe in Crawfordville, Fl.

Two Palms originally closed after Florida banned gambling at internet cafes in 2013, but reopened its doors with new software that fall.

Miller's attorney said the new software was designed to fall within the Florida law.

"The legislature set out certain perimeters, what gambling is, what it's not, and basically in this case this was not gambling. It was a legal game room and it's one of those things, a creature of the legislature," defense attorney Steven Glazer said.

The prosecution said they provided the jury with plenty of evidence to prove miller's operation was in fact gambling, and that she lied to customers about its legality.

"An undercover operation that actually went inside without the knowledge of Ms. Miller and Ms. Olah, we also had several players who had played at the Two Palms Cyber Cafe, as well as actual forensic evidence from the Seminole County Sheriff's Office," said Brian Miller, assistant state attorney.

Miller's daughter, Sandra Olah, who took up the business while her mother was sick, was also convicted of the same charges.

Glazer says he's sure one of his clients will be appealing the decision.

The sentence hearing for Miller and Olah is scheduled for March 11.


By: Charlene Cristobal
January 20, 2015

CRAWFORDVILLE, Fla. -- Sharlyne Miller -- owner of Two Palms Cyber Café in Crawfordville -- is one of the first in the state of Florida to stand trial for illegally running an internet café.

Investigator Erika Buckley was part of an undercover sting and went into the café to play the games.

"I had to go to the clerk's window, and provide them with some U.S. currency," said Buckley. "Received an account number on a printed ticket before I could go to a computer and start playing."

Two Palms initially shut down when lawmakers banned internet cafes, but re-opened in November of 2013.

Wakulla County Undersheriff Trey Morrison spoke with Miller before she opened the doors.

"That it would, in fact, be illegal," said Morrison. "I did basically say that if the Sheriff's Office received a complaint, we would be bound to start an investigation. If it met a statute, then an arrest would be made or whatever appropriate action we needed to take."

Miller's attorney, Steven Glazer, claims there are loopholes in the law, saying Two Palms does not meet the state's three-pronged definition of a gambling house.

"There are three things that the state must prove," said Glazer. "That there was consideration given, there was a prize given out and there was chance involved...if you take chance out of the equation, this building is going to fall -- and there's no gambling house. If you take consideration out, this building falls -- and there's no gambling house. It's a very technical case."

The trial will continue on Wednesday. It's unclear if Miller will take the stand.

Woman and her daughter found guilty of running a gambling house at Two Palms Cyber Caf

UPDATED
January 22, 2015
By Jennie Gutierrez

Sharlyne Miller was found guilty of 35 felony charges related to running a gambling house and operating an illegal lottery out of the Two Palms Cyber Cafe in Crawfordville, Fl.

Two Palms originally closed after Florida banned gambling at internet cafes in 2013, but reopened its doors with new software that fall.

Miller's attorney said the new software was designed to fall within the Florida law.

"The legislature set out certain perimeters, what gambling is, what it's not, and basically in this case this was not gambling. It was a legal game room and it's one of those things, a creature of the legislature," defense attorney Steven Glazer said.

The prosecution said they provided the jury with plenty of evidence to prove miller's operation was in fact gambling, and that she lied to customers about its legality.

"An undercover operation that actually went inside without the knowledge of Ms. Miller and Ms. Olah, we also had several players who had played at the Two Palms Cyber Cafe, as well as actual forensic evidence from the Seminole County Sheriff's Office," said Brian Miller, assistant state attorney.

Miller's daughter, Sandra Olah, who took up the business while her mother was sick, was also convicted of the same charges.

Glazer says he's sure one of his clients will be appealing the decision.

The sentence hearing for Miller and Olah is scheduled for March 11.


By: Charlene Cristobal
January 20, 2015

CRAWFORDVILLE, Fla. -- Sharlyne Miller -- owner of Two Palms Cyber Café in Crawfordville -- is one of the first in the state of Florida to stand trial for illegally running an internet café.

Investigator Erika Buckley was part of an undercover sting and went into the café to play the games.

"I had to go to the clerk's window, and provide them with some U.S. currency," said Buckley. "Received an account number on a printed ticket before I could go to a computer and start playing."

Two Palms initially shut down when lawmakers banned internet cafes, but re-opened in November of 2013.

Wakulla County Undersheriff Trey Morrison spoke with Miller before she opened the doors.

"That it would, in fact, be illegal," said Morrison. "I did basically say that if the Sheriff's Office received a complaint, we would be bound to start an investigation. If it met a statute, then an arrest would be made or whatever appropriate action we needed to take."

Miller's attorney, Steven Glazer, claims there are loopholes in the law, saying Two Palms does not meet the state's three-pronged definition of a gambling house.

"There are three things that the state must prove," said Glazer. "That there was consideration given, there was a prize given out and there was chance involved...if you take chance out of the equation, this building is going to fall -- and there's no gambling house. If you take consideration out, this building falls -- and there's no gambling house. It's a very technical case."

The trial will continue on Wednesday. It's unclear if Miller will take the stand.

Woman and her daughter found guilty of running a gambling house at Two Palms Cyber Caf

UPDATED
January 22, 2015
By Jennie Gutierrez

Sharlyne Miller was found guilty of 35 felony charges related to running a gambling house and operating an illegal lottery out of the Two Palms Cyber Cafe in Crawfordville, Fl.

Two Palms originally closed after Florida banned gambling at internet cafes in 2013, but reopened its doors with new software that fall.

Miller's attorney said the new software was designed to fall within the Florida law.

"The legislature set out certain perimeters, what gambling is, what it's not, and basically in this case this was not gambling. It was a legal game room and it's one of those things, a creature of the legislature," defense attorney Steven Glazer said.

The prosecution said they provided the jury with plenty of evidence to prove miller's operation was in fact gambling, and that she lied to customers about its legality.

"An undercover operation that actually went inside without the knowledge of Ms. Miller and Ms. Olah, we also had several players who had played at the Two Palms Cyber Cafe, as well as actual forensic evidence from the Seminole County Sheriff's Office," said Brian Miller, assistant state attorney.

Miller's daughter, Sandra Olah, who took up the business while her mother was sick, was also convicted of the same charges.

Glazer says he's sure one of his clients will be appealing the decision.

The sentence hearing for Miller and Olah is scheduled for March 11.


By: Charlene Cristobal
January 20, 2015

CRAWFORDVILLE, Fla. -- Sharlyne Miller -- owner of Two Palms Cyber Café in Crawfordville -- is one of the first in the state of Florida to stand trial for illegally running an internet café.

Investigator Erika Buckley was part of an undercover sting and went into the café to play the games.

"I had to go to the clerk's window, and provide them with some U.S. currency," said Buckley. "Received an account number on a printed ticket before I could go to a computer and start playing."

Two Palms initially shut down when lawmakers banned internet cafes, but re-opened in November of 2013.

Wakulla County Undersheriff Trey Morrison spoke with Miller before she opened the doors.

"That it would, in fact, be illegal," said Morrison. "I did basically say that if the Sheriff's Office received a complaint, we would be bound to start an investigation. If it met a statute, then an arrest would be made or whatever appropriate action we needed to take."

Miller's attorney, Steven Glazer, claims there are loopholes in the law, saying Two Palms does not meet the state's three-pronged definition of a gambling house.

"There are three things that the state must prove," said Glazer. "That there was consideration given, there was a prize given out and there was chance involved...if you take chance out of the equation, this building is going to fall -- and there's no gambling house. If you take consideration out, this building falls -- and there's no gambling house. It's a very technical case."

The trial will continue on Wednesday. It's unclear if Miller will take the stand.

An online gamer in Taiwan was found slumped lifeless and stiffening in his chair at an Internet cafe after a three-day marathon session — the second gaming death in the country this year.

The 32-year-old, surnamed Hsieh, played combat games in an Internet cafe in Kaohsiung on Jan. 6, police spokeswoman Jennifer Wu told CNN.

He was pronounced dead from cardiac failure on Jan. 8 after being rushed to a hospital when an employee found him motionless.

“He has been unemployed for a long time, and Internet cafes were the only place he could go to,” Wu said. “His family said he would disappear for two to three days on end.”

A café attendant said Hsieh always played for consecutive days.

“When tired, he would sleep face-down on the table or doze off slumped in his chair,” the attendant said, according to the Taipei Times. “That is why we were not aware of his condition in the beginning.”

The incident was ruled a “sudden death” from prolonged gaming, the newspaper reported.

Cold temperatures and exhaustion likely contributed to his death, Hunei Police Precinct Chief Weng Chun-neng said.

“We advise people to get up and move around after every two hours of computer gaming. More patrols will be conducted to remind residents about the dangers of prolonged sitting and game-playing,” Weng said.

His bizarre death is the second this month involving marathon gamers at Internet cafés in Taiwan.

On Jan.1, a 38-year-old man was found dead in a Taipei café after playing for five days straight, CNN reported.

In both incidents, fellow gamers continued playing nonchalantly even after police and paramedics arrived.

“We went inside to cordon off the tables and had investigators there to gather evidence,” a police spokesman said, the Taipei Times reported. “Only then did the other patrons realize that someone had died, but they still showed no concern and kept playing their games.”

Article source: http://nypost.com/2015/01/19/gamer-found-dead-in-internet-cafe-after-3-day-marathon/

Doctors confirmed he had suffered cardiac failure, ruling it a 'sudden death' from prolonged computer gaming; Representational Image (Photo: AFP/File)

Taipei:  A 32-year-old Taiwanese man died after a three-day gaming binge at an Internet cafe in the island's south, the second such case this year, a report said. The man, identified by his family name Hsieh, was found slumped motionless in his chair in the cafe in Kaohsiung city.

Other patrons initially thought he was sleeping, but when an employee realised he was not breathing he was rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the Taipei Times reported.

Doctors confirmed he had suffered cardiac failure, ruling it a 'sudden death' from prolonged computer gaming, the report said. "Hsieh was a regular customer here and always played for consecutive days. When tired, he would sleep face-down on the table or doze off slumped in his chair. That is why we were not aware of his condition in the beginning," the employee was quoted as saying.

It was not clear what Hsieh was playing at the time of his death, with the report describing it only as "combat computer games". The case came after a 38-year-old man was found dead at an Internet cafe in New Taipei City on January 1 following five days straight of video game binging.

Police said in both cases other patrons appeared nonchalant about the deaths, continuing playing even when tables were cordoned off for investigators to gather evidence.

Article source: http://www.deccanchronicle.com/150118/technology-latest/article/man-dies-after-playing-video-games-three-days-internet-cafe

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By Julie Montanaro
January 13, 2015

A woman accused of running an illegal internet cafe in Wakulla County will be one of the first in the state to go to trial for it.

Her attorney contends if a jury decides in her favor, internet cafes could make a comeback.

Two Palms Cyber Cafe in Crawfordville is closed now. It shuts its doors when Florida passed a law banning gambling at internet cafes in 2013, but it re-opened again in October with new software.

The owner Sharlyne Miller was arrested and will stand trial next week, her attorney Steven Glazer said.

"When the legislature wrote the law ... there are some holes in it. I don't think they can keep up with technology," Glazer said. "If the king says it's against the law, it's against the law and if in this case, the king failed to write the law correctly they are not entitled to a conviction."

"We don't see a loophole in the law," State Attorney Wille Meggs said.

Prosecutors are pursuing felony charges against Miller for running a gambling house and operating an illegal lottery.

"We sent people in to gamble. They gambled. Gambling is illegal in Florida and whether you're gambling with new software or old software gambling is gambling," state attorney Willie Meggs said.

A similar case is still pending in Gadsden County and prosecutors say an internet cafe owner in Jefferson County entered a plea this week.

The attorney for Two Palms Cyber Cafe says the outcome of this case could have statewide impact.

"This is the very first time that this issue has been tried," Steven Glazer said. "If we should win this case it could prove that the software that these people are using is in fact legal, and if that would be the case it could open the door for all of Florida."

The case is set to go to trial in Wakulla County on January 20th.

arcades walt disney world

Walt Disney World hotels will no longer offer prizes at video game arcades, where children redeem points for toys, candy, and other rewards. The company says it is also dropping joystick-controlled claw games inspired by the one in “Toy Story.”

Although Disney representatives will not clarify why it is shutting down redemption centers, the reason could be Florida’s ban on Internet cafes, writes Orlando Sentinel reporter Sandra Pedicini.

Some industry insiders say Disney might be acting preemptively to avoid legal action related to the 2013 law. Opponents have already sued arcade games at Chuck E. Cheese and Dave Buster’s, saying the chains are in violation of the broadly written rules.

Rulings on the lawsuits are pending.

“I’m sure Disney’s the last place in the world that wants to get accused of operating a gambling house,” said Florida Arcade and Bingo Association attorney Michael Wolf in an interview with the Sentinel.

Under the law, for each game played, individuals cannot win prizes valued at more than 75 cents. Games must only be coin-operated; Disney arcades use cards.

Points accumulate with each played, and cards can be exchanged for plush toys, Disney princess purses, mini-air-hockey games and other prizes.

Disney will not lay off any of the 22 arcade workers and by mid-February, Pedicini says they will move the employees to new positions.

Note’able Games at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort has already closed redemption counters. Five other hotels – the Contemporary, All-Star Sports, All-Star Movies, Pop Century and Art of Animation – have counters slated to close.

Closing on Feb. 8m the Tomorrowland Arcade in the Magic Kingdom will close, with those games going to hotel arcades, as replacements for the games that issue points for prizes.

The Game Station at the Contemporary resort is home to dozens of electronic games, such as Pac-Man, Frogger, and Monopoly, which issue electronic “tickets” to exchange prizes. The more you earn, the bigger the prizes.

Last week, Lakeland Republican State Sen. Kelli Stargel filed legislation seeking to loosen the rules governing family entertainment centers, allowing card-operated machines and higher value prizes. Stargel filed similar legislation last year, but it died in committee.

Stargel, who represents the area including Disney World, said she has not been contacted by Disney lobbyists on the issue. Nevertheless, Stargel did speak with other businesses, including some in her district, and representatives of Chuck E. Cheese and Dave Buster’s, chains still offering prizes.

“We’d prefer for them to not take that away,” said Mike Abecassis, owner of GameTime family entertainment centers. “It just makes our business less relevant in the state.”

Internet cafes were banned in 2013 after a multistate probe into Allied Veterans of the World, a self-described charitable organization supporting veterans but was found to only give 2 percent of its profits to veterans.

Pedicini notes that the Legislation also resulted in the closure of several senior arcades, which offer small prizes such as Publix gift cards. Florida Arcade and Bingo Association had represented many of those arcades.

Wolf filed lawsuits against Dave Buster’s and other operators. The litigation is currently on hold, while both sides await the results of a federal lawsuit.

“For the Legislature to think gambling for kids is OK but not for adults was pretty hypocritical,” Wolf said. “That was essentially what we were setting out to show.”

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015


THE 17th Davao City Council deferred Tuesday the approval of the proposed amendment to the internet cafe ordinance.

Councilor Joanne Bonguyan-Quilos, chair for committee for information and communication technology, said the council has yet to discuss the deletion of fee for holding game tournaments.

"After its approval, third reading na," Bonguyan-Quilos told Sun.Star Davao Tuesday.

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Majority floor leader Councilor Bernard Al-ag also said that they have yet to deliberate the provisions on "improvement of the functions of the accreditation board and changes in penal provisions."

The proposal intends to amend the number of hours that a minor will be allowed access to internet.

As provided for in the existing ordinance, a minor is only allowed to access the internet from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. But Bonguyan said they wanted to adjust this to 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. to consider the child's unfinished assignments in the early hours.

There will also be a weekly monitoring in all internet cafes in Davao City. She said village chiefs will be part of the monitoring team.

The proposed amendments were agreed in a meeting with the Internet Cafe Association of Davao City, Business Bureau City Administrator's Office last November 13.

The amended Internet Cafe Ordinance of Davao City was approved in 2013. (ANC)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 07, 2015.

DISCLAIMER: Sun.Star website welcomes friendly debate, but comments posted on this site do not necessary reflect the views of the Sun.Star management and its affiliates. Sun.Star reserves the right to delete, reproduce or modify comments posted here without notice. Posts that are inappropriate will automatically be deleted.

Forum rules: Do not use obscenity. Some words have been banned. Stick to the topic. Do not veer away from the discussion. Be coherent and respectful. Do not shout or use CAPITAL LETTERS!

-A A +A

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


THE 17th Davao City Council deferred Tuesday the approval of the proposed amendment to the internet cafe ordinance.

Councilor Joanne Bonguyan-Quilos, chair for committee for information and communication technology, said the council has yet to discuss the deletion of fee for holding game tournaments.

"After its approval, third reading na," Bonguyan-Quilos told Sun.Star Davao Tuesday.

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Majority floor leader Councilor Bernard Al-ag also said that they have yet to deliberate the provisions on "improvement of the functions of the accreditation board and changes in penal provisions."

The proposal intends to amend the number of hours that a minor will be allowed access to internet.

As provided for in the existing ordinance, a minor is only allowed to access the internet from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. But Bonguyan said they wanted to adjust this to 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. to consider the child's unfinished assignments in the early hours.

There will also be a weekly monitoring in all internet cafes in Davao City. She said village chiefs will be part of the monitoring team.

The proposed amendments were agreed in a meeting with the Internet Cafe Association of Davao City, Business Bureau City Administrator's Office last November 13.

The amended Internet Cafe Ordinance of Davao City was approved in 2013. (ANC)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 07, 2015.

DISCLAIMER: Sun.Star website welcomes friendly debate, but comments posted on this site do not necessary reflect the views of the Sun.Star management and its affiliates. Sun.Star reserves the right to delete, reproduce or modify comments posted here without notice. Posts that are inappropriate will automatically be deleted.

Forum rules: Do not use obscenity. Some words have been banned. Stick to the topic. Do not veer away from the discussion. Be coherent and respectful. Do not shout or use CAPITAL LETTERS!