Tags: florida | bans | computers

Florida Bans Computers? Broad Wording of New Law Goes a Little Too Far

Wednesday, 10 Jul 2013 04:55 PM

By Teresa Meek

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A new law in Florida intended to ban gambling in Internet cafes may have gone too far, and appears to ban all computers and smartphones in the state.

The wording of the law, which defines illegal slot machines as any “system or network devices” that can be used in a game of chance, in essence means that all computers and smartphones in the state are illegal, Fox News reports.

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The law, which was passed in April, caused the immediate closure of more than a thousand Internet cafes and video parlors that offered slot-machine gambling in the state, The Associated Press reported.

Nearly 60 people were arrested for racketeering as a result of the law, the AP said, and the state’s lieutenant governor, who had done consulting work for one of the organizations charged, was forced to resign.

The law was passed with “dizzying” speed, the AP said.

Too much speed, according to some former Internet cafe and video parlor owners who have filed suit against the law, the Miami Herald reports.

“They rushed to judgment and they took what they saw as a very specific problem and essentially criminalized everything,” Justin Kaplan, the lawyer who represents former internet cafe owner Consuelo Zapata, told the Herald.

Kaplan and his associates at Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine in Miami got help from noted constitutional law expert and Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz in preparing their suit, the Herald reports.

Michael Wolf, a lawyer representing several former video arcade owners who have also filed suit, said the law was too broad and was selectively enforced, resulting in widespread outrage. It needs be repealed, he told the Herald.

“Abraham Lincoln said it best — the best way to repeal a bad law is to strictly enforce it,” he told the newspaper.

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