In an attempt to crack down on Internet gambling in Florida, Governor Rick Scott signed a ban on all slot machines and Internet caf?s this past April. The ban — passed after a high-ranking politician was linked to a charity suspected of being an Internet gambling front — has generated outrage among many business owners. The ban defines any equipment or network capable of being used for gambling, as illegal. In essence, since gambling can be performed from any smart phone or computer with an Internet connection, the vague wording of the ban has led to many arbitrary crackdowns and business closures.
Many business owners are involved in personal injury lawsuits against the state of Florida over this draconian ban. One litigator is an Internet caf? owner whose business primarily provides Internet access to local migrant workers. Like 1,000 other Internet caf?s in Florida, her caf? was immediately shut down following the ban. The business owner’s legal team advised her that the new law essentially criminalized all Internet access in Florida. In addition, since the crackdown’s timing directly followed a state political scandal, many felt the reactionary and extreme nature of the ban was an example of whitewashing at the expense of law-abiding citizens.
This woman, like many others, is undoubtedly suffering from multiple blows: lost wages, loss of reputation and standing in the community, lost clientele, and emotional pain. The closure of her business may affect her credit, her ability to maintain her residence, or even her ability to properly care for family members. Many of these Internet caf? owners were providing a valuable service to the underserved members of their community — not operating casinos. The broad nature of the ban allows it to be enforced randomly, and its constitutionality is being challenged.
Whoever penned the expression, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me,” clearly was not a personal injury lawyer. Many injuries, like those endured by these hardworking business owners, leave no scars — but the hurt and damage is still just as real. If you have been wronged and someone is at fault, a personal injury lawyer can help restore justice in your life.
Huffington Post, “Report: Florida Accidentally Banned All Computers, Smart Phones In The State Through Internet Cafe Ban: Lawsuit” No author given, Jul. 08, 2013