Challenge Being Brought Over Florida Law Banning Internet Cafe Gambling

When Florida lawmakers recently voted to ban all Internet cafes, they worded the bill so poorly that they effectively outlawed every computer in the state, according to a recent lawsuit.

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. The ban defines illegal slot machines as any “system or network of devices” that may be used in a game of chance. untitled%20%2811%29.png

In the Jacksonville, Florida area, there has been a noticeable increase in online gambling businesses, known as internet cafes, pop up around Jacksonville, Florida. Many of these locations are known for appearing almost casino like and have tinted windows and a security guard outside. Usually, tinted windows and security guards mean adult movies/accessories or gambling.

Governor Scott has noted there are many loopholes in the law which allow them to exist throughout Florida. He indicated more than 1,000 of the internet cafes have opened in Florida since 2006. The internet cafes offer electronic sweepstakes games that are legal under current Florida law.

In response to this issue, it appears the government wants to legislate how people spend their time and money and increase its authority. The two laws that swiftly moved through the Florida legislature banned all internet cafes in Florida, although the Senate took a more job-friendly approach and looked to regulate the internet cafes and force them to pay a fee to operate.

According to what was originally the authority on gambling, and what many are still charged with, Florida Statute Section 849.08, gambling occurs when the accused engages in a game of chance (such as, cards, keno, roulette, of faro) for money or something else of value. The law never took into account things like online gambling or other sources of making money quickly without strenuous labor.

Whoever plays or engages in any game at cards, keno, roulette, faro or other game of chance, at any place, by any device whatever, for money or other thing of value, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable by a definite term of imprisonment not exceeding 60 days.

If any of the implements, devices or apparatus commonly used in games of chance in gambling houses or by gamblers, are found in any house, room, booth, shelter or other place it shall be prima facie evidence that the said house, room, booth, shelter or other place where the same are found is kept for the purpose of gambling.

Supporters of the internet cafes note that they provide thousands of jobs in Florida and it is hypocritical for the Florida government to ban some forms of gaming when it allows, even encourages, other blatant forms of gambling.

Many times throughout Jacksonville, the accused is just someone who has a legitimate desire to want to spend their money how they please, and allow these internet cafes to take their money. Fortunately, if one obtains an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney to fight the case and ensure one’s rights are protected, one can be sure that one will not be a victim in a fight one may not win on one’s own.


The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.

Additional Source: Florida Accidentally Banned All Computers, Smart Phones In The State Through Internet Cafe Ban: Lawsuit, Huffington-Post