BAD BETS? Candidate Wants Local Strip Mall Casinos Shut Down

City Commission Candidate Chris Ellis Says City Should Follow State Law & Close Illegal Strip Mall Casinos St. Augustine -


"Our city has become home to several illegal strip mall casinos. We have had up to 5 this year in a city of 14,000 while the county and St. Augustine Beach have none. They cause crime, harm property values, and hurt our quality life. They are bad for business and our family-based tourism. No one on the city commission has been willing to enforce state law. That changes if I am elected," said Chris Ellis, candidate for the St. Augustine City Commission.

In 2013, the Florida Legislature banned these so called Internet Cafes (Florida Statutes 849.16) and it is a 3rd degree felony to operate an illegal gambling business in Florida (F.S. 849.01). Other cities in the region have successfully shut them down such as the City of Bunnell in nearby Flagler County. Residents of St. Augustine have been complaining for months for the city to take action. To date, the city has not taken any official action.

"When I am walking our neighborhoods, I hear how upset city residents are over this. They can't understand why our city isn't taking formal action. If I'm elected, I will ask the City Commission to direct the Police Chief to immediately enforce state law," said Ellis.

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