by Christopher Freeburn | July 10, 2013 12:02 pm
Legislators in Florida looking to close a loophole in the state’s gambling laws added language to a recently passed bill that is so broad that it could potentially make owning a computer or smartphone illegal in the Sunshine State.
A multi-year probe of illegal gambling cafes in the state led to dozens of arrests and the resignation of the lieutenant governor. Trying to address the problem with a quickly-drafted bill, the state legislature re-defined illegal slot machines as “any machine or device or system or network of devices” used for gaming that use an “account number, code, or other object or information” to activate the game, CNN notes.
The law has already resulted in the shut down of more than 1,000 Internet cafes.
An Internet cafe owner is now suing the state, pointing out that the language in the bill could easily be applied to personal computers, smartphones and tablet computers.
“There are unintended consequences of hastily passed legislation in the wake of a scandal,” an attorney for the plaintiff in the suit told CNN.
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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