Florida Accidentally Bans All Smartphones With New Internet Cafe Law

Florida’s new ban on internet cafes is being challenged as unconstitutional since its broad wording could be interpreted as a ban on all electronic devices, including personal computers, smartphones, and tablets. According to Miami Law firm Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine the law was essentially created in haste to amend the law to define a slot machine as “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 part of a scheme involving any payment or donation of money or its equivalent and awarding anything of value.”

The law was intended to ban physical slot machines posing as internet cafes, but the vague law can also be interpreted as a ban on machines or systems that can be used to play games with rewards of any sort.

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.

As of now, 200 adult arcades and all 1,000 of the state’s internet cafes are closed, but the state could argue that “Starbucks is running illegal slot machines because they provide their customer with a Wi-Fi system that indirectly allows people to gain access to their phone to allow them to play games of chance that allow payouts.”

Another unintended consequence of banning all internet cafes is the closure of cafes serving low-income families, immigrants, or migrant workers who do not have regular access to personal computers or home internet services.


Via Huffington Post