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Internet Cafe Lawsuit Alleges Legislature May Have Outlawed Computers

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Poker hand with chips and laptop computer (Source: John Lamb via Getty Images)

Poker hand with chips and laptop computer (Source: John Lamb via Getty Images)

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Legislative Session Coverage

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After embarrassing arrests reached all the way to the Lt. Governor’s office, Florida lawmakers quickly passed a complete ban on gambling in Internet cafes. But, the bill may have plenty of unintended consequences, according to a lawsuit trying to stop the bill.

According to the lawsuit, posted by CBSMiami news partner the Miami Herald, a Miami law firm defending Internet café owners Incredible Investments, LLC said the bill so loosely defined the term “slot machine” that it could everything from actual slot machines to computers to even smartphones.

Lawyers compared the games run by the Internet café to other games of chance run by McDonald’s and Coca-Cola with the only difference being the Intenet café used a screen to show the results instead of a scratch-off card of looking under a soda bottle cap.

The legislature defined a “slot machine” as: “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.”

The lawsuit said that due to the new definition, the owner of a network of computers could be shut down if the user logged in to check on any contest or enter a code to get into a contest with a company.

The lawsuit also alleges that an amendment that allowed national contests “establishes invidious discrimination based solely on the geographical reach of the Plaintiff’s advertising of its game promotions.”

According to the Tamp Bay Times, more than 1,000 Internet cafes have been shut down due to the new law.

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