Florida accidentally bans computers in Internet cafe law

Posted By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   July 10, 2013 at 4:36 PM   |   Comments

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July 10 (UPI) -- In a recent effort to ban all Internet cafes, Florida lawmakers worded the bill so poorly they have accidentally banned all computers, smartphones and other Internet-connected devices.

Florida Governor Rick Scott approved the ban on slot machines and Internet cafes after Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll resigned amid suspicion that a charity she was tied to was an Internet gambling front.

Among the thousand Internet cafes that shut down following the ban was Miami's Incredible Investments, LLC, a café providing computer access and online services to migrant workers.

Because the ban defines illegal slot machines as any "system or network of devices" that may be used in a game of chance, the Incredible Investments legal team found that it could apply to any Internet-connected device.

The owner, Consuelo Zapata, is now suing the state over the ban.

"They rushed to judgment and they took what they saw as a very specific problem and essentially criminalized everything," said Justin Kaplan of the Miami law firm of Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, which is representing Zapata.

The complaint states that the ban was passed "in a frenzy fueled by distorted judgment in the wake of a scandal that included the Lieutenant Governor’s resignation" and declares it unconstitutional.

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