This week, the Town Council of Branford, Florida banned the operations of establishments allowing any type of online gambling, including online gaming machines, sports betting facilities and online casino.
The ordinance passed unanimously and there is no public comment or opposition voiced at a meeting on the matter. Earlier this month the same happened to Marion County where online gambling machines were banned.
According to Town Council President, Ken Saunders, the ban was necessary for the town since it was so small, just a mile radius, and there was no place for online gambling activities.
Another reason behind the decision is that there are many churches and residential areas, such as parks, playgrounds and schools and since the town is so small, there is no way to have protective zones around these facilities. This makes it difficult to keep an online gambling establishment like internet cafes that would allow online gambling and sports betting.
The ordinance says “The Town Council finds it necessary to ban the operation of these establishments for the health, safety, morals and welfare of the community of Branford.”
Donna Hardin, the town clerk of Branford for over 15 years said that the council did not want any kind of online gambling establishments inside the municipal limits.
She added: “Our town is so small we don’t really have any room for it.”
According to her, the town currently did not have any internet cafés and the council wanted to keep it that way.
The ordinance stated that the ban is active for 12 months with an automatic 6-month extension, which could only be stopped or reduced by the council itself.
Hardin said that during the 12-month period, the council would be able to keep a close eye on the problems regarding online gambling in town and later it would evaluate if more actions should be taken.
Marion County Example
According to Hardin, Branford’s council is learning from what happened to Marion County. The ban there was followed by robberies of online gambling machines and establishments in the county.
The Branford vote is a preventive measure to ensure that no such thing could happen to the town.
According to Marc Dunbar and Daniel Russell, who specialize in gambling law, internet cafes are considered to be convenience casinos or adult arcades, which offer online games that are almost identical to slot machines in casinos.
They added that currently Florida has more types of gambling than any other state in the US. Meanwhile, measures should be taken to ensure a safer gambling experience.
The town council does not plan to see any establishments like internet cafes within the borders of Branford. According to Saunders, meanwhile more businesses are built in the town that its citizens are more likely to enjoy.
He added: “Our town is growing, but it’s businesses that everyone can use.”
Source: “Branford bans online gambling establishments”, WUFT, February 15, 2021