07/20/10 — Internet parlors ask for late hours until closure

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Internet parlors ask for late hours until closure

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on July 20, 2010 1:46 PM

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Businesses like this internet parlor on Berkeley Boulevard are asking Goldsboro City Council to remove restrictions on their hours of operation, saying they only have a few more months before they will be closing because of state regulations.

Two local business owners spoke out during a public hearing involving proposed changes to the city's Unified Development Ordinance held during Monday's City Council meeting.

And their concern -- that the board's approval of the revisions would limit operating hours for Internet cafes -- was a shared one.

Goldsboro Internet World owner Tom Britt requested that council members reject the 7 a.m. to midnight schedule and allow his business to stay open until 2 a.m.

"As you know, we've been banned by the House and the Senate in Raleigh, so we're going to be closing Dec. 1," he said. "I was wondering ... our business hours are ... to 2 a.m. I would like to request that those hours be given to us because we've only got four more months."

Jay Patel agreed.

The council has, after all, already made it more difficult for people like himself to turn a profit, he said -- as of June 1, the Internet cafes that operate inside the city limits were required to pay a $2,500 licensing fee and an additional $1,000 per machine tax.

"So the problem comes ... when you limit our hours," Patel told the board. "It is very hard to recover money like that when you're limiting our hours."

No decision on the matter was made at Monday's meeting.

But Mayor Al King assured the men that the council would take their shared request into consideration before a vote is had.

"The people who will make that decision are sitting here," he said. "And we'll consider it."

The North Carolina Legislature voted July 7 to attempt to make clear again that a 2006 ban on video poker also applies to computer-based sweepstakes games found at businesses inside strip malls and old storefronts statewide.

In an 86-27 vote that gave final passage to the bill, the House agreed to the Senate's plan to eliminate by Dec. 1 the games that gambling opponents say seduce players and take their money.