Oops: Florida State Bans All Computers, Smartphones

In a broadly-worded bill signed into law in April, Florida inadvertently outlawed any electronic device that can be used to play a game of chance.

by / July 10, 2013

In April, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill into law that inadvertently outlawed the ownership of computers, Yahoo reported.

Just how did that happen? In the state's fervor to ban slot machines and Internet cafes, legislators were careless with wording the bill, which defined a slot machine as “any machine or device or system or network of devices” that can be used in "games of chance." And these games can be played on smartphones, tablets, computers -- you name it, since the Internet is rife with gambling sites.

The law was created after a charity tied to Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll was shut down on suspicion of fronting an illegal gambling operation, according to the Huffington Post. Carroll resigned, and when the law was passed, about 1,000 Internet cafes were immediately shut down.

Owner of Miami-Dade county Internet café Incredible Investments, Consuelo Zapata, is suing the state to overturn the ban on the basis that the wording it too broad.

"The Florida Legislature rushed to pass broad-sweeping amendments to existing statutes that violate the United States Constitution in a frenzy fueled by distorted judgment in the wake of a scandal that included the Lieutenant Governor’s resignation," a complaint by Zapata reads.