Way To Go Florida: Governor Signs Law That Accidentally Bans All Computers & Smartphones

from the it's-always-florida dept

They must put something in the water in Florida. The latest is that the state has effectively banned all computers, tablets and smartphones. Yes, all of them. Apparently there was a hastily passed law, CS/HB 155: Prohibition of Electronic Gambling Devices, which as you might guess, is supposed to be about banning electronic gambling devices. Apparently, the bill was written quickly in response to a political controversy:
In April Florida Governor Rick Scott approved a ban on slot machines and Internet cafes after a charity tied to Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll was shut down on suspicion of being an Internet gambling front -- forcing Carroll, who had consulted with the charity, to resign.
But, here's the problem. The bill's definitions section is a complete mess. You can see the full text (pdf) which contains cross outs and additions, but what comes out in the end is the following:
As used in this chapter, the term "slot machine or device" means any machine or device or system or network of devices... that is adapted for use in such a way that, upon activation... 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 him or her, 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.
Note that I took out chunks of that definition to try to make it more readable and it's still a mess. The short version is that a slot machine or device is any machine or device by which someone can play a game of chance. That's any device with a web browser connected to the internet. Any one.

Almost immediately, around 1,000 internet cafes shut down, and now one of them, called Incredible Investments, is suing, seeking declaratory relief on a number of issues related to the law, which shut down their cafe. They go through one by one the problems with the law (and they are many), including the definition of the slot machine:
The definition of “slot machine or device” now contained in Fla. Stat. § 849.16, as amended, fails to adequately describe the prohibited machine or device such that a person of common understanding cannot know what is forbidden.

[....] As amended, Section 849.16, Florida Statutes includes a presumption that any device, system, or network like the Plaintiff’s computers that displays images of games of chance is an illegal slot machine.

The newly-enacted section 849.16(3), Florida Statutes, creates an evidentiary presumption that relieves the State of Florida of its burden of persuasion beyond a reasonable doubt of every essential element of a crime
There's a lot more in the actual lawsuit (embedded below). Can we just have lawmakers recognize, once and for all, that they're really bad at legislating technology?


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  1.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 3:25am

    Not just computers with web browsers. Dust off that old NES and play a pinball game to try and reach a high score? That's a game of chance. You're going to jail, fiend!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 6:48am

    Re:

    I've heard that parents sometimes bet on student performance results. Ban examinations alongside the education system!

     

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    Alt0, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 6:58am

    There is one good thing about this law, Hey Florida, No lottery for you!

    Being there are already too many Powerball / Megamillion winners coming from Florida.
    Now that they can't play, chances are better for the rest of us.

     

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    AbbaDabba, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 7:01am

    Game of Chance

    Yeah, every time I connect to the Internet, I'm taking a HUGE chance.... malware, IRS surveillance, virus attacks, Sony RootKit attacks, DNS poisioning, and the chance Microsoft programs will be doing something to lock up my computer....

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 7:03am

    Are crocs hallucinogenic?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 7:04am

    Uh since this covers "application of skill" in addition to "elements of chance" doesn't this also ban Ski-Ball machines that spit out tickets, too?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 7:11am

    "...any machine or device by which someone can play a game of chance"

    Dang it. There go my weekly sessions of Russian Roulette.

     

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  8.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 7:14am

    Re:

    Now that they can't play, chances are better for the rest of us.

    No, they're really not.

     

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  9.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 7:16am

    Re: Game of Chance

    Those are certainties.

     

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  10. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 7:17am

    WRONG. Has not "effectively banned all computers, tablets and smartphones".

    Sheesh. What a ninny. I guarantee you, Mike, that those devices will stil be used after this law goes into effect -- for all their still legal, non-gambling purposes.

    And any adult person of normal understanding will NOT be in doubt over what's a gambling device: it's only don't-intend-to-understand kids and legalistic weenies who keep at textual analysis and semantics until entirely confused.

    Besides that, laws are statements of morality, and gambling is just plain stupid, should be kept suppressed. Purpose of gambling is to get unearned money; purpose of the gambling sites, especially.

    And no, I'm not upset at "internet cafes" being shut down. Dens of vice and stupidity: not only doesn't affect me, but we're all better off without them, whether you want to be or not. -- There's a reason that vices are prohibited, runs constant through all times and all cultures: when you let dolts run wild, it's NEVER to the general good.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 7:17am

    what this shows, more than anything, is how stupid the ones that are elected into positions of power really are! they become so entrenched in either doing what a certain industry has 'encouraged' them to do or trying to please the electorate because there is a vote of some sort coming up and they want the people to vote them back in to the same position they have been in and fucking up for years! not only do they appear to be 'really bad at legislating technology', they are really bad at legislating anything! kids could do better jobs than these so-called 'professional law makers'!!

     

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    Matt (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 7:17am

    Small correction

    "Can we just have lawmakers recognize, once and for all, that they're really bad at legislating technology?"

    Should really be this:

    "Can we just have lawmakers recognize, once and for all, that they're really bad at legislating?"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 7:21am

    Re:

    In 1976, Pinball was shown to a New York courtroom to be a game of skill.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinball#Pinball_and_gambling

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 7:26am

    Re: WRONG. Has not "effectively banned all computers, tablets and smartphones".

    What's this 'general good' and why do you think these braindead legislators know better than the rest of us? Are you insane? We let dolts run free because they have rights, remember?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 7:27am

    Re: WRONG. Has not "effectively banned all computers, tablets and smartphones".

    "And any adult person of normal understanding will NOT be in doubt over what's a gambling device"

    Let's assume you are correct.

    What do you think will stand in court? Your "obvious" interpretation of what a gambling device is, or the definition codified into law?

    If you picked the second option, please go read the definition presented, and the problem should become obvious.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 7:30am

    Re: WRONG. Has not "effectively banned all computers, tablets and smartphones".

    I don't think you understand how laws work. While it might be a bit confusing with the NSA completely muddying the issue, you don't actually get to choose how to interpret laws when you enforce them, you enforce what is actually 'on the books'. And this law, as written, classifies almost every electronic device as a 'gambling device'.

    Of course you're too much of a fucking moron to pick up on that so I don't know why I'm bothering to reply at all. Go play Bathtub Boating with a plugged-in toaster.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 7:31am

    Re: WRONG. Has not "effectively banned all computers, tablets and smartphones".

    You don't care if legitimate businesses get shut down because it's immoral to... ummm... to rent the use of a computer?

    You are anti copyright to the point where you feel like people should rent/lease all of their software.

    How does renting hardware suddenly make it dens of vice and stupidity?

    Hell at least they are up front that you don't own the hardware there.

     

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    theDude, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 7:33am

    Rick Scott

    Is an idiot, who surrounds himself with intellectual equals. This isn’t his first monumental blunder.

     

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    Pragmatic, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: WRONG. Has not "effectively banned all computers, tablets and smartphones".

    AC, it's Cathy. She's a mad authoritarian who rails against authoritarianism in a magnificent display of cognitive dissonance in almost every post she makes here.

    In Cathy's world only things that Cathy approves of are permitted and the rest of us can go hang. She's an idiot who thinks of the General Good as being a world that feels like an All-American 1950s washing powder commercial. What she doesn't seem to realise is that such a world never existed and it never will.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 7:37am

    So anything that can connect to the internet is now banned in Florida? This is an outrage! we should create an online petition!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 7:38am

    Re: Re:

    Which means nothing here because this also covers things that involve "an application of skill".

     

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  22.  
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    Lord Binky, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 7:41am

    Re: Small correction

    What else do you expect, it is actually a technical job with a strong foundation in logistics, yet there are zero requirements for the job.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 7:58am

    So if I put a brick on the gas pedal of my car (a machine)and watch what it crashes into, I play a game of chance, right?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 8:00am

    Statute will be amended if need be, but the plaintiff here is anything but a "pristine and upstanding" citizen. Seriously, running an "internet café" (these are manifestly gambling establishments) that caters to migrant workers by operating out of strip malls and renting the use of internet connected computers by the minute/hour?

     

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    Doug D, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 8:00am

    A potential upside!

    Hm... does this definition cover electronic voting machines?

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 8:01am

    Re: Rick Scott

    But thats how politicians work

    Somebody complained about something - quick do something, function and reason optional!

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 8:05am

    Re:

    Politicians do not make the actual laws anymore in most cases. It is a fact that politicians are hunting for votes to a point where reason doesn't exist in their choises, but they only suggest what to make a law about and vote on it after having agreed with other politicians about them. The conflation is natural since politicians actually wrote the laws themself 50 years ago, but today it is simply impossible to write a coherent law without having to sculpt it around avoiding conflict with other laws and obligations. AFAIK "lawmakers" today are departments of several people with most of them being legal scholars.

     

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  28.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 8:08am

    Re: Re: WRONG. Has not "effectively banned all computers, tablets and smartphones".

    I'll translate from idiotese for you:

    "I can't think of any way to insert a stupid attack on Google like I did all day yesterday, so instead I'll attack the business I think is being defended"

     

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  29.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 8:09am

    Re: WRONG. Has not "effectively banned all computers, tablets and smartphones".

    "when you let dolts run wild, it's NEVER to the general good"

    Believe me, we've noticed.

     

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  30.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 8:10am

    Re: WRONG. Has not "effectively banned all computers, tablets and smartphones".

    At least you are consistent.

    You think that laws do not need to be written clearly because everyone should just understand what was meant.

    Yet we have the Aaron Swartz result from seeing just how far a poorly written law can be stretched. But again, you also seem to think that is just fine. But then that is consistent with a view that no real judicial oversight or due process is needed.

     

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  31.  
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    Michael, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 8:14am

    Device for playing a game of chance

    I've spent a lot of time in Florida, and I would have to classify driving in that state as using a device to play a game of chance. The drivers there are almost as bad as the laws.

     

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  32.  
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    Michael, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 8:16am

    any machine or device by which someone can play a game of chance

    They have just banned voting.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 8:20am

    Re: Re: Re:

    In relation to the Florida law? That is correct.

    In relation to Rikuo's comment that it was a game of chance? Well, I think it does have relevance.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 8:25am

    Re:

    Especially in Florida. Remember "hanging chads"?

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 8:26am

    Re:

    the two games you mentioned don't have odds based on the number of players. it's based on the number of possible outcomes. so, if you decrease the number of players, it won't affect anything other than a possible decrease in frequency of winners (thereby causing a general increase in the size of the jackpots won)

     

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  36.  
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    aldestrawk (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 8:32am

    some confusion in the media

    Apart from the, uhm wording problem, there are some details that aren't quite right with this story. First off, this bill was passed on April 10, 2013. The media has made it appear as if the bill was written in response to the shutdown of the Allied Veterans of the World charity which forced Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, who consulted with the charity, to resign. That scandal and subsequent shutdown occurred in March but the bill was first submitted on January 14, 2013. The shutdown may well have influenced the passing of the bill but it was already in progress well before that incident.
    It looks to me, so far, that the target of the bill were "internet sweepstakes cafés" which are not at all the same as your standard internet café although some media reports use the latter terminology.
    I am looking in to what has happened since.

     

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  37.  
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    richard (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 8:50am

    poor chucky cheese's

    all those games they have that give out tickets......

     

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  38.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 9:06am

    Re: WRONG. Has not "effectively banned all computers, tablets and smartphones".

    legalistic weenies who keep at textual analysis and semantics until entirely confused


    AKA lawyers and legislators.

     

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  39.  
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    Trelly (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 9:07am

    Darn it, I was just planning on a vacation to Florida so I could sit in my hotel room and play Solitaire.

    Did they shut down the World of Warcraft access to Florida yet? How about Wifi, which offers a random chance at downloading things of value or entertainment, and which are by necessity part of a network?

    Heck, any computer used to purchase a flight to Florida is a gamble, since you don't know until you show up at the gate if you are on the no-fly list.

     

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  40.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 9:08am

    Re: WRONG. Has not "effectively banned all computers, tablets and smartphones".

    Besides that, laws are statements of morality, and gambling is just plain stupid, should be kept suppressed. Purpose of gambling is to get unearned money; purpose of the gambling sites, especially.


    That's only your opinion, Blue and it's obviously not the majority view. Otherwise we wouldn't have Las Vegas, Atlantic City or 44 (give or take) states with lotteries. Opinion polls are showing acceptance of online gambling running around 50%.

    Just like Jerry Farwell, your opinions are not the majority nor are they what our current society has deemed as moral.

     

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  41.  
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    Michael, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 9:10am

    Re: poor chucky cheese's

    whether by application of skill or by reason of any element of chance or any other outcome unpredictable by the user him or her, may....


    The law appears to rely on the ability of the user of the device to be able to judge the outcome. An inept person pressing the wrong button on a vending machine is in violation.

     

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  42.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 9:15am

    Re:

    I was in an internet cafe last week. They rented the use of a computer by allotments of 20 minutes. As I stood up to leave, I took a glance at what everyone else was doing.
    Email.
    Skype.
    Airline Tickets.
    General information.

    Not a single person was gambling. I did see one person playing the Solitaire game that comes with Windows while having a Skype call, but there was obviously no money in that.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 9:26am

    Probably dihydrogen monoxide.

     

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  44.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re: WRONG. Has not "effectively banned all computers, tablets and smartphones".

    Can we have a "highly relevant, sarcastic and obvious" post of the week please?

    I vote PaulT here for the best so far!!!! :)

     

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  45.  
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    uberfrood (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 9:33am

    So if internet slot machines weren't illegal before, why did the charity get shut down?

    If it was illegal before, why the need for this law?

     

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  46.  
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    uberfrood (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 9:43am

    Re: WRONG. Has not "effectively banned all computers, tablets and smartphones".

    Ah, good. It "doesn't affect you". A perfectly good reason to ban something. Why should you care that not everyone has access to a computer with fast internet at home? You have one, so anyone who doesn't is just out of luck. As long as the law has fixed a non-existent problem with dangerously vague language, all's good in the world.

     

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  47.  
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    uberfrood (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re:

    Obviously they were skyping with their bookies.
    And buying airline tickets to escape their bookies.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 10:44am

    Re: Small correction

    Earned yourself a "funny" vote, and sadly an "insightful" vote.

     

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  49.  
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    Atkray (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 11:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Rikuo was referring to electronic pinball on the old NES, not a 70's era mechanical device that only Roger Daltrey and Elton John know how to play.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 11:37am

    Re: Re: WRONG. Has not "effectively banned all computers, tablets and smartphones".

    Little boy blue can't have politicians be shown to be idiots of this magnitude because it might lead people to question his proposal to give them shittons more money by dramatically increasing taxes on everyone that earns more than he does.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 11:39am

    Re: WRONG. Has not "effectively banned all computers, tablets and smartphones".

    laws are statements of morality


    Comedy gold!

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 11:45am

    Re: Re: Small correction

    Hey, there are requirements! You have to have money and the support of a major party (in the vast majority of cases). It also helps to look and sound pretty.

     

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  53.  
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    DH, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 11:46am

    The nature of legislatures

    Legislate in haste, amend in leisure.

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 11:46am

    Re: Re: poor chucky cheese's

    I wanted Orange!

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So was the NES simulation of the mechanical pinball device sufficiently poor as to remove all skill and make it a game of chance?

     

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  56.  
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    CK20XX, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 12:35pm

    Re:

    Eh, no, the chances aren't better. Really, the lottery is something you have an equal chance of winning whether you enter or not.

     

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    btrussell (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 1:18pm

    "They must put something in the water in Florida."

    Oil.

     

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  58.  
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    akp (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 1:18pm

    Re:

    What internet cafes do you go to? All the ones around here just serve coffee, let people check their email, and allow aspiring novelists to "write" where everyone can watch them do it.

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 1:22pm

    Haaaaahahaha

    Remember! Our laws are written by our "representatives"!

     

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  60.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 1:26pm

    Re: Re: poor chucky cheese's

    "or, in addition to any element of chance or unpredictable outcome of such operation, may also... present ... entertainment"

    Yeah, you BETTER not put the IPod on "shuffle"! No unpredictable entertainment allowed!

     

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  61.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 1:26pm

    Re: Re:

    in a comment here, aldestrawk mentioned "internet sweepstakes cafes". I think this is what they're talking about. I had to look it up, as I'd never heard of such things. Apparently, they're a phenomenon of the southern US: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweepstakes_parlor

     

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  62.  
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    aldestrawk (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 1:51pm

    Re: poor chucky cheese's

    “I’m not going to go arrest Chuck E. Cheese in front of a bunch of 6-year-olds,” Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez told the Miami Herald last month

    Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/07/02/3481991/video-arcades-sue-dave-busters.html#storylink=cpy

     

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  63.  
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    ardvark, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 1:58pm

    Over broad law by idiots

    Isn't voting for president a game of chance in Florida?

     

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  64.  
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    ECA (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 2:13pm

    I WONDER

    "whether by application of skill or by reason of any element of chance or any other outcome unpredictable by the user him or her, may.... "

    Your Cut' seems abit unclear to me..
    BUT, can the owner/operator have notice of the outcome?

    Wouldnt that be illegal?

     

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  65.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 2:23pm

    Re: WRONG. Has not "effectively banned all computers, tablets and smartphones".

    > when you let dolts run wild, it's NEVER
    > to the general good.

    Well said, Comrade Blue!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 4:01pm

    It's been said that nothing happens by accident in politics, that things are planned that way.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    You gotta know when to hold 'em, Jul 9th, 2013 @ 6:09pm

    Maybe the definition of device is codified elsewhere, but all of these activities would seem to constitute the use of a device or system for uncertain gain...

      1. Floridian legislation and elections
      2. PRISM, TSA security, War, Training for law-enforcement etc.
      3. Political donations
      4. Rock Paper Scissors
      5. Coin Flipping
      6. Drawing straws
      7. Spin the bottle
      8. The Stock, Bond, Derivative, Money, Insurance and Foreign Exchange Markets
      9. Home ownership and/or financial leverage
      10. Games and Sports that use dice, spindles or imperfect spheres (balls)
      11. Tic Tac Toe
      12. Mineral and Space exploration
      13. Superstition (see what I did with the number 13?)
      14. The Patent System
      15. Religion
      16. Sexual Relations
      17. Litigation
      18. Quantum Mechanics
      19. Waiting ages for a bus, only for 2 to come along at once
      20. Having the luck of the Irish
      21. Random Walks, Probability and Statistical distributions
      22. Forecasting, estimating, budgeting and planning
      23. Venture Capital & Corporate Finance
      24. Elective surgery
      25. An Arts degree

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    icon
    Bergman (profile), Jul 9th, 2013 @ 8:03pm

    Re:

    You can wager on almost anything. Traffic lights are networked together, for example.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    icon
    Anonymous Howard (profile), Jul 10th, 2013 @ 1:26am

    Re: Re: Re: WRONG. Has not "effectively banned all computers, tablets and smartphones".

    How do you know she's "Cathy" ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 5:53am

    Re:

    What a fucking racist.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    identicon
    Lee Bartholomew, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 6:47am

    Re:

    Yeah Iowa wants their powerball back. (I'm living in Iowa) this is funny as hell.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Small correction

    I would further condense it:

    "Can we just not have lawmakers"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 2:10pm

    Does this mean Google has to remove the "I'm feeling lucky" link?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
    identicon
    FNYOURMOM, Jul 10th, 2013 @ 7:33pm

    Re: Re: WRONG. Has not "effectively banned all computers, tablets and smartphones".

    Wouldnt playing Bathtub Boating with a plugged in toaster be a gamble since theres a chance that you might actually live.
    You also wouldnt be able to drive a car, boat or plane since theres a chance you might actually get in a car accident. Die, thereby losing all your money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
    icon
    uRspqF7L (profile), Jul 12th, 2013 @ 9:15am

    this is funny but

    a) I think aldestrawk's comments deserve a response. According to the very story you link to, it was not internet cafes, but "internet cafes" which explicitly ran gambling machines, that have shut down their gambling machines: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/10/florida-internet-cafe-law-signed-rick-scott_n_3054466.html. That appears to be the sane target the bill was going after (whether banning gambling is a good idea is another question, but you have to admit that it's common practice in many US states and a completely appropriate issue for legislation), not the catch-all your article implies.

    b) the typical magical thinking evidenced on this site about laws that sound bad is in full flower here. Laws don't magically arrest and prosecute people just because they sound as if they could. Even though you might construe computers as being gambling devices because they are capable of running gambling software, what would be outrageous is police arresting and attorneys general prosecuting people using ordinary computers under the bad wording of this statute--NOT the bad wording itself. The bad wording does not necessarily or even usually produce the conceptually possible bad result based on the bad wording. This is one reason we have judges--they typically don't let cases move forward that fall outside reasonable interpretations of the law (and yes, this happened in all the criminal CFAA cases too, but let's leave those alone for now).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    icon
    James (profile), Jul 15th, 2013 @ 5:37am

    Re: this is funny but

    what would be outrageous is police arresting and attorneys general prosecuting people using ordinary computers under the bad wording of this statute--NOT the bad wording itself. The bad wording does not necessarily or even usually produce the conceptually possible bad result based on the bad wording. This is one reason we have judges--they typically don't let cases move forward that fall outside reasonable interpretations of the law (and yes, this happened in all the criminal CFAA cases too, but let's leave those alone for now).


    Relying on prosecutorial discretion is a really, really bad idea. Just ask the kid who got bailed out on $500,000 for a stupid rant on Facebook, or Aaron, or Weev, or pretty much anybody that the government has decided holds views that are objectionable or contrary to good order and discipline within the state.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77.  
    identicon
    Hayden Terrell, Jul 15th, 2013 @ 1:15pm

    Seriously?

    Wow, they can't be serious can they?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78.  
    identicon
    Greg G, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 9:12am

    Re:

    4. Rock Paper Scissors

    You for Lizard Spock!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79.  
    identicon
    Greg G, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 9:14am

    Re: Re:

    *forgot.. need more coffee this morning

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80.  
    identicon
    Steven Armstrong, Jul 18th, 2013 @ 7:07am

    Re:

    18 clinches it.

    Florida just outlawed the universe itself.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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