**UPDATE TUESDAY: The City of Jacksonville responded to our inquiries. They said all Internet cafes will have until Wednesday to close. If they don't, the owners will be arrested for trespassing.**
Usually, if you see the number seven, you're feeling lucky. Monday, however, marked the seventh and final day nearly two dozen business owners had to pack up their things and get out.
The City of Jacksonville voted last month to shut down internet cafes across the city deeming them a public nuisance. The decision came following a handful of shootings and robberies in the past year.
Some internet cafes kept their lights on throughout the morning, staying open for business, allowing customers to hear that cha-ching one more time.
Others like Hot Players already showed signs they were closed for good.
Hot Players is one of the establishments on a list of 23 the city said was operating without a license and required to close by the end of business Monday.
“There was a lot of good people that went in there I’m sure, but I just didn’t think it was necessary to be in this strip mall," said Annie Leliberte, owner Shoe Fixers.
Leliberte said she is glad to see the shop next to her close its doors for good.
"It’s best to not have them, that’s the way I see it because people are spending money they don’t have. It’s just not a good place to go to.”
In the five years she’s been at the store, Lilly’s seen more of a hot mess than hot players.
“There was trash everywhere, they would put their trash in and there would be people sitting on the benches and would be drunk or drugged out of their mind.”
The owner recalled police coming there for at least two robberies in the last year among other things.
“Syringes outside, lying on the street at certain times and I would pick them up and put them in the trash," she said. "There have been a few times that people have been screaming and shouting. The police have been called on various occasions."
According to a review by the Jacksonville City Council, during a five year period from 2013 to 2018, the sheriff’s office received over 28,000 calls to nearly 100 simulated gaming places. That included shootings and multiple robberies since January of 2018.
“It’s just not good for my business and everyone about. They closed them down before many years ago and they never should have opened them back up again.”
While the owner feels for the employees out of a job, she hopes the close of these businesses will help re-energize those around them.
This is the first round of internet café closures. As for the surrounding internet cafés throughout the city, they’ll have six months from Aug. 1 to close up shop.
On Tuesday, the city responded to our inquiries and said all Internet cafes will have until Wednesday, June 19 to close. If they don't, owners will be arrested for trespassing.