After years of raking in dough and enjoying lots of popularity, the gamerooms in Duval County are now a thing of the past. All 13 of them have been shut down.
A letter from the Duval County Sheriff that was sent out about three weeks ago basically told gameroom business owners that they had until the end of September to shut down, or he would shut them down.
"I appreciate the cooperation. I really do," Duval County Sheriff Romeo Ramirez said. "We really appreciate it at the Sheriff's Office. I'm glad this is the way it turned out, that we don't have to utilize our manpower and investigations division to go in there and conduct search warrants, or seizures of the machines."
Usually the parking lots at some of the gamerooms near San Diego, off of Highway 44 in Duval County, are jam packed with customers; but on Tuesday they were empty.
"It's a good thing," said Emerica Aguilar, a resident in Benavides. "I guess people are just throwing their money away, and especially the elderly, so it was a good thing that they shut down."
"Most people here, they need it, you know, because there's nothing to do here in town, so you just want to go have fun," San Diego resident Jose Camarillo said.
Sheriff Ramirez said none of the gameroom operators gave him a difficult time about the closures. He decided the gamerooms were a problem after one of them became the target of an armed robbery.
One resident said she hopes this will mean that Bingo will make a comeback. According to her, local churches stopped having Bingo when the gamerooms became so popular because no one would show up.
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