Cocoa Beach looking to ban strip mall casinos with new ordinance



COCOA BEACH, Fla. - Cocoa Beach is looking to change its rules so commercial gambling, including strip mall casinos, don't move in.

City officials told Channel 9 doesn't want what's happened in other cities to happen there.

"There are statistics out there that say crime does follow these types of establishments," said city manager Bob Majka. "The question for the community is, do we want to take that kind of risk here?"

In Auguest, Channel 9 obtained surveillance video of two men who tried to rob a strip mall casino in Melbourne.

However, a security guard took out his gun and shot one of the suspects.

Catalyst, formally known as Quiet Flight, has been in Cocoa Beach for almost 30 years. Workers there said gambling and Internet cafes don't fit in with the city.

"We don't need any more crime here or any other people that would influence people in a bad way," said Javier Rovira of Catalyst.

If Cocoa Beach goes through with banning Internet cafes from its city, the closest place people could gamble would be on a ship out at sea once it leaves the port.

Cocoa Beach does not have any Internet cafes and that's how the city plans to keep it, even if leaders in Tallahassee decide to open the door to commercial gambling.

"That's the other opportunity, to be in front and reactive should the state change their laws," said Majka.

The city will take up the ordinance for the first time Thursday. If all the commissioners agree to the change, it could go into effect as early as August, but they plan to hold a public hearing first.