Florida Gambling Crackdown Banned ... All Computers
Internet cafe ban so vague it made smartphones illegal
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2013 9:33 AM CDT
Gladys Fundora plays a sweepstake game at the New York NewYork Arcade in Hialeah, Florida.   (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

(Newser) – When Florida politicians banned Internet cafes earlier this year, the intention was to stop illegal online gambling. Only they may have accidentally banned a whole lot more. A new lawsuit against the state alleges that the ban was so hastily constructed and poorly written that it effectively bans any computer, smart phone, or other device connected to the Internet by defining any device that allows you to play a game of chance as an "illegal slot machine," the Huffington Post reports. The suit argues that the ban should be declared "unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable."

The suit is being brought by Consuelo Zapata, the owner of one of the 1,000 Internet cafes shut down in the ban. The cafe's clientele was primarily migrant workers who needed computer access, reports the Tampa Bay Times. The suit argues the law was pushed through "in a frenzy" amid charges of racketeering and money-laundering against Internet cafes with ties to the state's then-lieutenant governor, and is now being selectively applied. The state could just as easily argue "Starbucks is running illegal slot machines because they provide their customers with a WiFi system," says Zapata's lawyer. The people who really were running Internet cafes as "adult arcades" agree—they have formed a coalition to sue Dave & Busters and Boomers, arguing that those arcades also count as "gambling houses" under the law.

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Showing 3 of 10 comments
BinThereDunThat
Jul 11, 2013 8:55 AM CDT
I just think of all the old people that worked and saved all their lives so they could retire in FLORIDA. Now they must think they have died and gone to Hell, only without the dying part. :(
TeddyOctober
Jul 10, 2013 3:25 PM CDT
Don't worry Florida! You can still get your Meth, but you'll have to do your online gambling elsewhere.
Alan
Jul 10, 2013 2:25 PM CDT
I always thought that Gov. Perry and his merry band of fools located in Austin, Texas represented the funniest and worst examples of political foolishness. I now have to rethink this impression and allow Gov. Scott and his Ship of Fools in Tallahassee, Florida to assume the position of the official National Clowns of the United States of America. Look for a new novel by Carl Hiaasen featuring Gov. Scott and his clowns.