Once again Florida leads with an amateurish performance through it’s political “professionals” by passing a law that would seem to ban all electronic devices capable of an internet connection almost three months ago. But, though the consequences were immediate, it took a lawsuit and, the subsequent distribution to media all over the US to get this laughable piece of legislation some real attention. Now enough to even popularize the sadly funny line “Florida legislators don’t want any phones smarter than them in the state!”.
This sloppily worded law was passed in April by Governor Rick Scott following a scandal involving Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll, in which a charity related to Carroll was alleged to be an internet gambling front, forcing Carroll’s resignation. The letter law was written so carelessly broad that it would appear to include all computers, cellphones and tablets capable of accessing a gaming site or, to be used to gamble with.
Florida’s 1,000 Internet cafes were shut down immediately, including Miami-Dade’s Incredible Investments, LLC, a café that provides online services to migrant workers, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The owner of Incredible Investments, Consuelo Zapata, is now the first to be suing the state after her legal team found that the ban was so poorly worded that it can be applied to any computer or device connected to the Internet.
The following was posted by the Miami Herald and is the offending part attacked by the lawsuit filed:
“53. First, the Florida Legislature amended the statute permitting Game Promotions
(Fla. Stat. § 849.094) to permit only retailers that conduct “a nationally advertised game
promotion” to conduct same.
54. Second, the Florida Legislature further amended the statute to include the
following: “8(a)(b) Compliance with the rules of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer
Services does not authorize and is not a defense to a charge of possession of a slot machine or
device or any other device or a violation of any other law.”
55. It amended the definition of a “slot machine” to include:
any machine or device or system or network of devices that is adapted for use in
such a way that, upon activation, which may be achieved by, but is not limited to,
the insertion of any piece of money, coin, account number, code, or other object
or information,such device or system is directly or indirectly caused to operate or
may be operated and if the user, whether by application of skill or by reason of
any element of chance or any other outcome unpredictable by the user, may:
(a) Receive or become entitled to receive any piece of money, credit, allowance,
or thing of value, or any check, slug, token, or memorandum, whether of value or
otherwise, which may be exchanged for any money, credit, allowance, or thing of
value or which may be given in trade; or
(b) Secure additional chances or rights to use such machine, apparatus, or device,
even though the device or system may be available for free play or, in addition to
any element of chance or unpredictable outcome of such operation, may also sell,
deliver, or present some merchandise, indication of weight, entertainment, or
other thing of value. The term “slot machine or device” includes, but is not
limited to, devices regulated as slot machines pursuant to chapter 551.
(emphasis on new language).
56. The Florida Legislature made further amendments to include a rebuttable
presumption that provides: “There is a rebuttable presumption that a device, system, or network
is a prohibited slot machine or device if it is used to display images of games of chance and is 10
Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, P.L., 201 So. Biscayne Blvd., Suite 1700, Miami, FL 33131 305.379.9000
part of a scheme involving any payment or donation of money or its equivalent and awarding
anything of value.” (emphasis added)
To see the full lawsuit filling please go here.