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Florida House Passes Bill To Ban "Internet Cafes"

timothy posted about a year ago | from the enough-of-this-let's-go-watch-the-sausages dept.

United States 124

squiggleslash writes "Concerned about their use as fronts for gambling operations, the Florida legislature passed a law banning Internet cafes. The law appears to be a reaction in part to the recent stepping down of Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, embroiled in a scandal involving a company that operates Internet Cafes. More ordinary cafes with Wi-fi, where you supply your own computer (such as Starbucks), are not affected by the ban." The nomenclature here is confusing; the bill (PDF) (summary) is clearly aimed only at "cafes" that are essentially gambling venues; an Internet cafe wouldn't violate the proposed rule merely by providing computers. Whatever you think of prohibitions on gambling among consenting adults, the bill itself is sort of amusing for its very specific loopholes for bingo and "reverse vending machines."

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Then ban Gambling (2, Insightful)

mozumder (178398) | about a year ago | (#43256285)

Because government can't prohibit people from assembling peacefully - tthey can only control commerce.

Re:Then ban Gambling (2)

swalve (1980968) | about a year ago | (#43256549)

They aren't banning people from assembling. They are banning the operation of a particular type of business. Gambling isn't the problem they are trying to solve, this particular form of it is. If the government is going to be in the business of banning things, they should do it as narrowly as possible.

Re:Then ban Gambling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256757)

They aren't banning people from assembling. They are banning the operation of a particular type of business.

And that type of business relies on people assembling, so... yeah.

Re:Then ban Gambling (5, Insightful)

DragonTHC (208439) | about a year ago | (#43256855)

which, for the poor, this type of business is useful and helpful. So it must be an attack on the poor.

Regardless of if you can gamble at an Internet cafe, the business serves other uses.

It's like banning car rental places because some people use cars to commit crimes.

Re:Then ban Gambling (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43257139)

this bans gambling... those places used the internet cafe name but they are not what you think as an internet cafe...

Re:Then ban Gambling (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43257367)

Banning gambling is pretty useless in Florida. We have many casinos already on reservations, and there are always the boat casinos going out into international waters.

In the past election there was a bill to allow gambling in the county. I don't know how it went, but places to gamble are not hard to find.

Re:Then ban Gambling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43257293)

They may be poor because they continually lose their savings on games which are designed to cheat players out of money. And the games' owners will deny the existence of addictive / obsessive mental disorders and call the sufferers "consenting adults" to keep the money flowing in.

Re:Then ban Gambling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43257905)

Or holding gun shops liable for people who use guns to commit crimes.

Re:Then ban Gambling (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43258989)

I live right around the corner from an Allied Vetrans in Jacksonville FL. Our Public Libraries have internet and computers free of charge. The Allied Vets and other "cyber cafe"/casinos load there systems up with slot machine type flash apps, sell hot dogs and hand out jackpots, all while recouping the wellfare checks and social security. These businesses do not serve any other uses. Maybe it is an attack on the poor since the non-poor are too busy working then to sit at a "cafe" 8 hours a day chasing a jackpot.

Re:Then ban Gambling (4, Insightful)

DragonTHC (208439) | about a year ago | (#43259177)

most poor people end up working a hell of a lot harder than "non-poor". Falling under the poverty line and living paycheck to paycheck doesn't mean you're not poor.

Re:Then ban Gambling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256607)

RTFA moron.

Really? (1, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#43256301)

Who has actually had an "internet cafe" in the past 10 years? Or do they consider Starbucks and free wifi an "internet cafe"?

Honestly, you can buy a useable used laptop for around $35.00 and then go to mc donalds for free internet. Are they going to ban McDonalds? That would be one thing that would do some actual good.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256325)

RTFA

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256327)

You obviously didn't read the article, "Internet Cafe" does not mean what you are using it as.

Re:Really? (1)

Internal Modem (1281796) | about a year ago | (#43256339)

You didn't even read the summary! Your second sentence is specifically addressed.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256313)

So their logic is that because something could be 'abused' (laws against Internet gambling are idiotic as well), we should ban it entirely? I guess we should ban... everything in existence!

Re:What? (5, Funny)

fyngyrz (762201) | about a year ago | (#43256333)

There is a simpler solution, though. Ban the Florida legislature.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256355)

I was thinking: "ban corrupt politicians" but that might just exclude the entire working government.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256545)

The government works?

Re:What? (2)

geoskd (321194) | about a year ago | (#43258123)

The government works?

Only the corrupt parts

Re:What? (1)

bbelt16ag (744938) | about a year ago | (#43256643)

here here! I second the motion!

Re:What? (2)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year ago | (#43257163)

There is a simpler solution, though. Ban the Florida legislature.

Band them (so they can't reproduce).

TTFY ;)

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43258363)

It's on the House... we all know the Senate is where money is represented. They'll point out that it'll hurt freedom, technology and that all the ban would do is drive cyber-cafe traffic 'underground' into informal places, like people's houses. And also that you won't be able to restrict the traffic over wireless.

Then they'll protect the money. No way a corrupt state like Florida will pass up online gaming revenue. Look at of track betting.

Re:What? (5, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year ago | (#43256425)

I'm not a huge fan of banning something for everyone because a minority of miscreants are incapable of using it responsibly. The lawmakers, in their seemingly endless struggle to legislate every hot button topic that reaches the news feeds, make themselves and their silly rules less relevant with each new weighty tome of regulations. It's not that human kind has moved beyond the need for codes of conduct, far from it, but once everything is against the law we are all lawbreakers.

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year ago | (#43256581)

I'm not a huge fan of banning something for everyone because a minority of miscreants are incapable of using it responsibly.

Pollution laws? Money laundering laws? Driving laws? Building codes? Product liability laws? Noise ordinances?

The miscreants are not as small of a minority as you think.
Hell, laws against public drunkenness precede the founding of the USA.

but once everything is against the law we are all lawbreakers.

This won't be a problem until enforcement catches up with the law.
Once that happens, public backlash tends to get laws rolled back.
Red light cameras are a great example of over enforcement leading to massive pushback.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256635)

Impact on the survival and well being of people outside the immediate family?

Re:What? (2)

jedrek (79264) | about a year ago | (#43256755)

Pollution laws? Money laundering laws? Driving laws? Building codes? Product liability laws? Noise ordinances?

All of these are examples of laws that outlaw irresponsible/hurtful behaviors, not entire segments of commerce to outlaw a specific behavior.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43257929)

Pollution laws? Money laundering laws? Driving laws? Building codes? Product liability laws? Noise ordinances?

What a bunch of nonsense. You just love collective punishment, don't you?

Hell, laws against public drunkenness precede the founding of the USA.

Laws against public drunkenness are as idiotic as laws against public nudity. Was that the response you were looking for?

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year ago | (#43256771)

So their logic is that because something could be 'abused' (laws against Internet gambling are idiotic as well), we should ban it entirely? I guess we should ban... everything in existence!

Let's see. A STATE GOVERNMENT official is involved in a criminal operation that involves cyber-cafes. So the STATE's response is to ban the cyber-cafe's!. Yup. Makes perfect sense.

Libraries (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256337)

Wouldn't this basically make libraries illegal? Once again, Florida, paving the way for stupidity since 2000.

As usual, TFA essentialy opposite of the summary (4, Informative)

radiumsoup (741987) | about a year ago | (#43256343)

submitter is playing a bit fast and loose in the description here... the law is *centrally* concerned with gambling, and any operation not involved with gambling but that does provide computers for the public's use is completely untouched by this - not just places like Starbucks. Not sure why the outrage, really. If gambling is illegal in Florida, this closes existing loopholes that some gambling houses used to skirt the law. It doesn't affect non-gambling "internet cafes" as they are traditionally known.

Re:As usual, TFA essentialy opposite of the summar (0)

Internal Modem (1281796) | about a year ago | (#43256351)

It also is not related to Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll stepping down in the way suggested. The crackdown on internet cafes is the reason Carroll stepped down, not the other way around as implied....

Re:As usual, TFA essentialy opposite of the summar (5, Insightful)

supercrisp (936036) | about a year ago | (#43256487)

I thought the reason Carroll stepped down was because of her connection with Allied Veterans, the supposed charity for veterans that turned out to be a huge scam?

Re:As usual, TFA essentialy opposite of the summar (3, Insightful)

Internal Modem (1281796) | about a year ago | (#43257337)

Yes. Allied Veterans was running Internet Cafes and claiming the profits were going to veterans.

Re:As usual, TFA essentialy opposite of the summar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43259019)

Exactly, although the Allied Vets revenue was from running Internet Cafe Gambling Halls.

Re:As usual, TFA essentialy opposite of the summar (5, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#43256363)

If gambling is already illegal...why do they need another law? Perhaps they need to fix their gambling statute instead.

Re:As usual, TFA essentialy opposite of the summar (4, Insightful)

radiumsoup (741987) | about a year ago | (#43256387)

this, like most laws, clarifies and expands on an existing statute... so, essentially, they're doing exactly what you propose.

Re:As usual, TFA essentialy opposite of the summar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43257171)

that is why laws are so confusing

Re:As usual, TFA essentialy opposite of the summar (4, Interesting)

MangoCats (2757129) | about a year ago | (#43256395)

This is how they are trying to fix the gambling statutes... there's a "sweepstakes" loophole in most states' laws that these internet cafe' operations have used to end-run traditional gambling bans.

Re:As usual, TFA essentialy opposite of the summar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256529)

This is how they are trying to fix the gambling statutes... there's a "sweepstakes" loophole in most states' laws that these internet cafe' operations have used to end-run traditional gambling bans.

Yes, and all while damn near every other form of gambling is perfectly legal in the state...or did you somehow happen to miss the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino sitting in Tampa that makes the MGM look small...

Re:As usual, TFA essentialy opposite of the summar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256667)

the issue is likely one of taxation.

Re:As usual, TFA essentialy opposite of the summar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43258351)

Hard Rock is owned by the Seminole Nation. That's Indian gambling. They bought the brand years ago.

Re:As usual, TFA essentialy opposite of the summar (3, Insightful)

porkThreeWays (895269) | about a year ago | (#43256823)

They had to make a lot of noise about it because the lieutenant governor and a trashy company got caught screwing veterans. This was for the "someone should do something about that" crowd.

Re:As usual, TFA essentialy opposite of the summar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43257175)

If gambling is already illegal...why do they need another law? Perhaps they need to fix their gambling statute instead.

Reading fail.

Re:As usual, TFA essentialy opposite of the summar (1)

pongo000 (97357) | about a year ago | (#43258201)

If gambling is already illegal...why do they need another law? Perhaps they need to fix their gambling statute instead.

The same reason why gun laws prohibit felons from owning guns, etc...yet the need is seen to pass more laws. They don't need to fix the statute, they need to enforce the laws that are already on the books.

Re:As usual, TFA essentialy opposite of the summar (2)

Fnord666 (889225) | about a year ago | (#43258839)

The same reason why gun laws prohibit felons from owning guns, etc...yet the need is seen to pass more laws. They don't need to fix the statute, they need to enforce the laws that are already on the books.

No, it's not the same reason. This is to fix a loophole in the existing FL gambling laws that some businesses are using to run gambling establishments. A hypothetical equivalent version would be that while it's illegal to sell a gun to a felon, the law would allow a felon to buy a ticket in a raffle where the grand prize is a gun. The business then only sells one ticket in that particular raffle and the ticket costs the same price as the retail price of the gun.

Re:As usual, TFA essentialy opposite of the summar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43259165)

OMG, my past work is relevant!!!

I was the principal systems architect for a company that provided "internet cafes." The businesses offered a tangible or usable product--internet access--as well as a reward for the customers for the same amount that could be redeemed an application. These programs were essentially video slot machines that used your purchase of internet access as a way to fund the gambling. There are several stipulations that make these machines legal: first, they needed to be available without a purchase, so if you knew, you could get a 5$ equivalent per person per day; second, the payouts had to be predefined, that is the rewards were not based on any randomizing algorithm. The law is really intended to allow businesses to provide rewards to their customers for normal business and not as a basis for an entire business.

We ran an operation out of Boston that was similar, but instead of internet access, we built a really cool Asterix system that acted as a hub for international calling cards which were printed by the machines. The idea was fairly similar. 1.) Provide a product 2.) Offer a redeemable reward 3.) Profit

The laws aren't going to shut down internet cafes, the laws are being updated to close the loopholes that people were exploiting to bypass gambling statutes.

Re:As usual, TFA essentialy opposite of the summar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256373)

That will depend on the exact wording of the bill and how the courts, lawyers, and police abuse it.

Re:As usual, TFA essentialy opposite of the summar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256509)

submitter is playing a bit fast and loose in the description here... the law is *centrally* concerned with gambling, and any operation not involved with gambling but that does provide computers for the public's use is completely untouched by this - not just places like Starbucks. Not sure why the outrage, really. If gambling is illegal in Florida, this closes existing loopholes that some gambling houses used to skirt the law. It doesn't affect non-gambling "internet cafes" as they are traditionally known.

Yes, and all that would make sense, only the fact of the matter is Florida is one of the largest proponents of gambling in the form of countless lottery and scratch-off games. They have their own state lottery (which after billions, has clearly benefited the Flori-duh edumucashun system), and let's not forget that "tiny" Hard Rock Hotel and Casino sitting in the middle of the state that is large enough to make any Las Vegas proprietor green with envy.

Hypocrisy at it's finest. This is about the "wrong" people profiting. This has nothing to do with eliminating gambling.

Re:As usual, TFA essentialy opposite of the summar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256557)

Of course this is about the "wrong" people profiting.

It takes money, influence, clout and above all power to reach even the lowest levels of the American ruling class.

Winning a seat in government comes with the prize of being able to further your own interests as a member of the ruling class. This means exploiting the lower classes, or perhaps simply controlling them through your private security army known as the police.

Government is not your friend. The police are not your friend. You exist as a resource in order to be won between warring factions of the American ruling class.

We can't allow serfs and other outsiders to the royal court to setup a gambling establishment. That would pry some tiny morsel of power and control from the American ruling class and put it into the hands of outsiders.

Re:As usual, TFA essentialy opposite of the summar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256801)

That would be Indian territory.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seminole_Hard_Rock_Hotel_and_Casino_Tampa

Re:As usual, TFA essentialy opposite of the summar (5, Interesting)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#43256605)

Not sure why the outrage, really.

Outrage sells just as much as sex - and since there's no nudity on Slashdot... outrage is the only demographic left to pander to. Seriously, you've never noticed the number of badly written summaries and stories published seemingly just to fan the flames and provide an opportunity for a Two Minute Hate?

Re:As usual, TFA essentialy opposite of the summar (2)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | about a year ago | (#43259405)

There used to be nudity on Slashdot, even if it was only a text description of it.
Naked, petrified Natalie Portman with hot grits and all......

Re:As usual, TFA essentialy opposite of the summar (1)

Tom_Yardley (587588) | about a year ago | (#43259323)

It is about shutting down small business. In one stroke of a pen the Republican-controlled legislature eliminated 10,000 jobs. The state runs a lottery which is so crooked it should be described as a tax on the stupid. There are dog tracks and horse track and casinos. But a small business is "evil gambling." If gambling is wrong, shut down the Florida Lottery. But don't run a gambling operation and tell me internet gambling is somehow worse than the crooked lottery you run.

About time... (4, Insightful)

MangoCats (2757129) | about a year ago | (#43256383)

These places aren't about internet access at all, they are plain and simple gambling establishments.

If you want to legalize gambling, fine, do it. But, letting it happen this way just leads to sad little strip-mall locations where poor people gather to lose what little money they have in the name of "entertainment."

Re:About time... (5, Insightful)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#43256439)

If you are trying to stop poor people from spending their money unwisely you better also ban

Check cashing places (get a bank account)
Title and payday loan places (90% plus of their business preys on the disadvantaged)
Rent-To_own centers (usurious interest and crappy products all for only 99 cents a week. You can get this $300 computer for $3000 when you are paid off)

While we are at it:
Lottery tickets
Mountain Dew (hell most soda)
Malt Liquor
Fast Food
Cigarettes

Money is better spent educating those that can be.

Re:About time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256543)

I agree with banning the first three. My country has a ban on title and payday loan services.

Re:About time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256813)

My country has a ban on title and payday loan services.

We are working on getting rid of them here in Florida as well.

Re:About time... (3, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year ago | (#43256965)

You can plot the poor (crime, rape, murder) areas of town just by the location of these places. About the only thing they serve for me is where *not* to live when planning to move. But yes, these loan sharks need to be shutdown!

Re:About time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256559)

also ban

Check cashing places (get a bank account)
Title and payday loan places (90% plus of their business preys on the disadvantaged)
Rent-To_own centers (usurious interest and crappy products all for only 99 cents a week. You can get this $300 computer for $3000 when you are paid off)

While we are at it:
Lottery tickets
Mountain Dew (hell most soda)
Malt Liquor
Fast Food
Cigarettes

Heavy regulation would be better. The more obviously usurious firms, e.g. payday loan companies, should be so heavily regulated that they can only operate on a not-for-profit basis.

Just as we protect the five year old from a convicted paedophile, we protect the poor from the wealthy tricksters. Civilisation is nothing more and nothing less than a means of protecting the weak from the strong.

Money is better spent educating those that can be.

"...that can be" - eh?

Re:About time... (3, Interesting)

bobbutts (927504) | about a year ago | (#43256775)

So you'd make small loans and payment plans with high interest rates illegal? The reason for the high rates is that with a no credit check loan, payback rates are lower than traditional bank loans. So in order to be profitable, the rates are higher to cover those who default. If a person doesn't have previously established credit, they are forced to take out this kind of loan. Out of curiosity, what interest rate would be legal and what rate illegal? How are you going to enforce this?

Re:About time... (2)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#43256951)

The problem is not the interest rates or small amount of the loan. It is that the companies that provide them peddle to people who can ill afford it or do not understand it and wind up in worse financial strait than when they started far too often.
My solution is to try to better educate people on budgeting, personal finance, and loan structure.

Re:About time... (1)

jon3k (691256) | about a year ago | (#43257737)

How are you going to enforce this?

The same way we do now [wikipedia.org] , I suppose?

Re:About time... (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43257009)

If you want to ban check cashing places you're going to also have to ban chexsystems and similar. Which is fine with me, of course.

If you're going to ban rent-to-own, why not ban rent entirely? The whole notion is specious. Because someone got somewhere first, they have the right to charge rent? We owe the "native" Americans a whole hell of a lot on that basis.

Spending the money on education runs counter to the idea of maintenance of the status quo, which depends on masses of meanlessly multiplying malleable morons.

Tax Dollars Tossed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256421)

Obviously such a law is a poor notion and an endless string of law suits will follow and perhaps some criminal trials as well. In the end it will accomplish nothing other than a loss to the public purse. It is very much like abortion laws and laws against pornography. It just costs money and does nothing for anyone. We do have limited, legal gambling in Florida and you can bet those casinos want to stop internet gambling and you can bet that they are well connected with Florida law makers. Frankly it is an awful law and an awful waste of tax dollars.

The summary... (1)

BluPhenix316 (2656403) | about a year ago | (#43256481)

Yeah, the summary in this is pretty awful. That is like saying, we are going to ban cars because people might use them for something other than driving. How about, let's ban Baseball Bats, because people use them for assault rather than baseball.

Re:The summary... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256895)

Did you read the PDF? Very first line "An act relating to the prohibition of electronic gambling devices;"

I used to work in this industry. The company I worked for made accessories to go inside of these games. This is a disgusting industry.

So, here's what happened on the operating side:
-The people running these locations give food away for people who are playing the games.
-The people playing the games only show up for the food (essentially), and put only a dollar or two into the "penny" games so they can sit there for hours (getting free food and drinks)
-A competitor will open up down the street
-The "customers" will then go back and fourth getting free food (alternate for lunch and dinner)
-The locations can't make money, so they jack up the percentages on the games (instead of paying out 85%, they pay out 65%)
-Location owners then start turning on each other and sabotaging others equipment
-One owner finds out about the other and things get violent

To be clear, this is gambling with out any oversight. These places open up on a weekend and can move again the next weekend. There is little legal recourse since the owners don't usually have much money to begin with, and move around regularly. I have since left business altogether, but last time while I was in Florida I was nearly roped into a small war between 2 locations.

A little background: We worked typically 11PM-9AM. The location owners typically didn't want the close their doors during business hours. The owner of Location A claimed that Location B was was zapping their games with a cattle prod, using the wins to take their high-value prizes and using them as prizes at Location B. The equipment I installed was basically just grounding and monitoring equipment to prevent the cattle prod style attack.

Location A: I installed our companies accessories Sunday night and Monday night and trained the employees Tuesday morning. The daughter of the owner (who was a local MMA fighter, probably fighting illegally, who lost custody of her children because of the fighting) was running the location.

Location B: The owner of this location wanted the same thing, so I was ordered to go to Location B Wednesday night (parts needed to be shipped down). I worked until 7AM Thursday morning with the owner of Loc B. A little after 7, the daughter from Loc A came in the back door (which was open) and beat the owner of Loc B pretty bad. The entire left side of his face was bloody and his eye was swollen shut. He called someone, and about 15 minutes later a truck with 4 guys pulled up and picked up the owner.

The owner of Loc B wanted me to help beat up this girl. The exact phrase was "I paid you guys THOUSANDS of dollars to install this equipment, so your my whore for the day. Get in the truck." I left my tools and equipment, hopped in my car and took off.

This is what's going on in Florida. It's not on the news and it's very mafia-like. I shed no tears for these guys and every single one of them deserve to be shut down. Never again.

Re:The summary... (1)

BluPhenix316 (2656403) | about a year ago | (#43257557)

Why I got modded down. I didn't say anything about banning the gambling devices. The summary is worded like all internet cafes are banned. Places where you go and can surf the web. I know that isn't the case because I read the article.

The Ban Stick (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256589)

Oh how you Americunts love to wield it.

Name one thing that was banned that made your lives better.........

Re:The Ban Stick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43257449)

The ban on alcohol gave us style.

Re:The Ban Stick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43257975)

you Americunts

Now, from which glass house are you throwing stones again?

Re:The Ban Stick (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#43258253)

Name one thing that was banned that made your lives better.........

Murder.

Confusion, (4, Insightful)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | about a year ago | (#43256623)

What I don't get is why the USA is so uptight about "gambling"? If they were really serious about getting rid of big-time gambling operations, they really should ban the stock market and insurance.

Re:Confusion, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256767)

Because the government doesn't get their cut from gambling operations like these.

Confusion indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256781)

Wallstreet does not like competition.

Re:Confusion, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256835)

What I don't get is why the USA is so uptight about "gambling"? If they were really serious about getting rid of big-time gambling operations, they really should ban the stock market and insurance.

Bingo should be banned, it's only played by criminals and deviants.

Re:Confusion, (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43257061)

What I don't get is why the USA is so uptight about "gambling"? If they were really serious about getting rid of big-time gambling operations, they really should ban the stock market and insurance.

America is a nation built upon the idea that if you document and legislate all of your corruption that you no longer have any, because it is a matter of law. Entrenched powers thus press their advantage to keep the classes proportioned such that they maximize their profit. Gambling represents a means of laundering funds that can make an end-run around this system and provide opportunities for the lower classes to improve their situation, which challenges the social order. The major profits from stock and insurance scams (of both the legal and illegal varieties) are only available to those who already have money, and selective enforcement permits punishing only those whose initial fortune was not built with the approval of the establishment to prevent them from succeeding.

In short, like every superpower of which I'm aware, the USA seeks fervently to maintain the status quo. If you put yourself in a position to suck from the government teat you can profit from oppressive laws, and in the process help ensure its perpetuation and that of the bootprint upon all necks.

Re:Confusion, (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43258077)

Gambling, to be profitable, necessarily favors the house and as such clearly economically disadvantages anyone participating in it. How that helps lower class people I fail to understand.

Re:Confusion, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43257759)

If they were really serious about getting rid of big-time gambling operations, they really should ban the stock market and insurance.

In the stock market, if you put a unit of money on every stock and reinvest dividends in the same distribution, you will eventually make money (you may be underwater for a while, but the stock market has always recovered). In gambling, if you put a unit of money on each game and reinvest the winnings in the same distribution, you will eventually lose all your money. They aren't the same. And that's ignoring the social benefits to allowing successful stock market investors to control more investments than unsuccessful investors.

Insurance is the reverse of gambling. Instead of paying small amounts of money so that you occasionally win large amounts, insurance allows you to pay small amounts of money to protect from not paying out large amounts. Gambling increases risk; proper insurance reduces it.

Florida resident here (5, Informative)

porkThreeWays (895269) | about a year ago | (#43256647)

These things have been around a long time. I remember when one first popped up about 8 years ago. My friends and I went to it and were amazed that they were legal. Instead of straight cash they paid out visa gift cards. Then about 4 years ago the zoning board approved one in my immediate area. Once they realized the name "arcade" was a cover for gambling, they immediately rescinded.

The reason this is news is because our lieutenant governor was involved with a company that managed to take it to a new low. They operated these things under the guise that it was some sort of organization helping veterans. I think that was the last straw. After the bust, this legislation was introduced and quickly passed. It was completely reactionary and I'm sure poorly written due to the quickness with which it passed.

As I said before, these things have been around for years. I must have at least a dozen near mean in the counties that allow it. Everyone knew they were shady, so no one can act like they are surprised by their existence.

Just asking for it (0)

Grashnak (1003791) | about a year ago | (#43256773)

My problem with internet cafes, particularly those where the computers are provided, using them is really just begging to have all your personal info recorded or hacked. God only knows what crap they have loaded on those things, and frankly I'd be shocked if someone isn't running a chain of these places solely with the intent of stealing identities/accounts.

Reverse vending machines? (3, Funny)

pianophile (181111) | about a year ago | (#43256815)

Is that where, e.g. someone inserts a candy bar and $0.75 is dispensed?

Re:Reverse vending machines? (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#43258263)

There was a story here a while ago about a machine that you could put your old mobile phones in, and it would give you cash for them. I guess that's an example.

Florida just keeps getting "better" ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43256937)

Crooked elections ...

Old people who cannot drive safely being allowed to drive despite the
danger they pose to others ...

Violent crime which frequently victimizes tourists from other countries ...

Sinkholes ...

And a pice of shit for governor.

Fuck Florida, I'd like to see the whole place sink beneath the ocean.

This just in... (1)

Jawnn (445279) | about a year ago | (#43256997)

Lawmakers fail to understand "the Internet".
UPDATE! - Sensational title deliberately conflicts with reality, as explained in TFA.
Film at eleven.

another brick... (0)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about a year ago | (#43257087)

Most of all, getting rid of internet cafes gets rid of a lot of anonymous user potential. Anything and everything for fascism in the US.

NC has these Sweepstakes places as well (5, Informative)

Rob_Bryerton (606093) | about a year ago | (#43257145)

First time I was in one, I couldn't believe it was legal. But by careful observation of the operation, it was clear that they were exploiting loopholes, and the verbiage they use to do this is quite amusing. It's not gambling, they're "sweepstakes". You don't "cash out", you "redeem your sweepstakes prizes/winnings/internet minutes/whatever". It's not video poker, it's "video sweepstakes". Etc, etc. This is how these places work:

They are typically located in strip mall type buildings, and will be called Internet Cafe, Business center, Sweepstakes etc. You walk in, and it's basically a large room with say 50 PCs running XP on a LAN, and there's a manned booth (or atm type device) where you can deposit $ into your account. Say we go to the counter and give the attendant $20 for our account number 123456. Got to a PC, log into it w/your account# 123456, and you have a screen showing various things you can do: Internet browsing, blah, blah, blah, and Sweepstakes. So you have "credits" (or "internet minutes") in your account now: the $20.00 we deposited is 2000 credits (or minutes or whatever euphemism).

The games are basically flash games w/casino themes: all types of slot machine types, keno, w/all kinds of goofy themes, running full screen on the PC, kiosk style. There's mini-games to keep you hooked (break up the monotony of click, spin, click, spin). The mini game will always give you $2.00 to say $50.00, and the player immediately has this credited to their account, and inevitably loses it shortly thereafter.

So they're basically slot machines where you gamble "credits" as I like to call them, but that would be illegal. So they call them sweepstakes machines where you play for "internet minutes" which can be "redeemed" (never cashed out!) for dollars.

NC has tried a couple times to ban these establishments, but they just switch out the games and call them something else, say play for phone card minutes, and they just keep going. It's just a matter of time before they get forced out by the state though. It's inevitable; we can't have those "educational" lotto dollars being spent elsewhere, now can we? ;)

Re:NC has these Sweepstakes places as well (2)

porkThreeWays (895269) | about a year ago | (#43257879)

That's exactly how they are here in Florida. The reason for this legislation in the first place is that the lieutenant government was involved with a company that was operating one of these places under the cover that they were helping veterans. It turns out they were giving almost none of the money to any veterans associations. The really important part that very few in the media are reporting is that they were mostly run by lawyers. They knew exactly where the line for legality was and operated within inches of it for years. It wasn't until they got greedy and crossed it that they were caught.

Reverse vending machines? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43257317)

So which is it?

1) I drop in a soda and get 75 cents back.

2) I walk past a machine carrying a soda, the machine spits 3 quarters in my face, gets mad since I don't give it the soda, cusses, then grabs me and shakes me until I topple over spilling the soda, then just sits there innocently until the next victim arrives.

it's the first (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | about a year ago | (#43258127)

It's presumably for the type of machine that buys back cell phones.

http://www.ecoatm.com/ [ecoatm.com]

Overkill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43257363)

This is like killing a slug with a sledge hammer.

at least the cherry master are up front about bein (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#43257365)

at least the cherry master are up front about being slots games and they stay on them for amusement only (it's the hidden knock off switches and under the table pay outs on them)

In some places like WI they are some what legal as well as coin pushers.

Ass Backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43257469)

The Lt. Gov, gov employees and Vets. Admin. officials were caught red-handed, grand larceny, with loot they secured through a scheme which used internet cafes.

An what does the Florida gov do ?

Passes a legislative bill to ban internet cafes and lets the Lt. Gov and others Walk Away Clean.

This is Government at it's Worst.

The Governor and Legislators should be hunted as the Criminals they are and rendered to the Gallows of Justice.

Follow the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43257585)

It's the *tax-free* Internet gambling that they're forbidding, and not paying enough into the state's coffers (unlike the Florida State Lottery, which has incredible management overhead bribes^H^H^H costs.)

Darn it! Foiled Again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43257723)

now those gambling operations will have to buy a $5 coffee machine

These places aren't what you think (4, Informative)

arbulus (1095967) | about a year ago | (#43258395)

Apparently few people here realize what these places actually are. You drive around any Florida town right now (I'm a Florida resident), and you see on nearly every corner, a "Internet Sweepstakes" or "Internet Cafe". These aren't the internet cafes of old that we remember where you can pay for an hour to surf the web. They are gambling estabilishments that exploit a loophole in gambling law. They only call themselves "internet cafes" to make it seem innocuous. These places have also become a turn-key, get-rich-quick scheme. That's why you see so many blighting the landscape. They're trash. Pure trash. And they're taking advantage of loopholes hoping no one will notice. I for one am glad for the proposed ban. Now if we can only ban check cashing and payday loan places, we'd be a hell of a lot better off.

Sooo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43258943)

The title is like "HEY EVERYONE READ ME THEY'RE BANNING INTERNET CAFES!" Then the summary is like "just kidding guys, we were just trying to sound dramatic so you'd pay attention to us. Please keep reading though!"
Really? I realize this is how news websites operate, but like when you're liking to an article go all out or not. If you're gonna lie lie in the summary too. I'd much prefer the truth, but if you're gonna tell the truth in the summary, tell it in the title.

Reverse vending machine (1)

Alioth (221270) | about a year ago | (#43259619)

Reverse vending machine :-)

I have the mental image of a machine in which you insert a packet of Doritos and out comes 70 cents.

Banning Bingo in Florida... (1)

Lendrick (314723) | about a year ago | (#43259801)

...would be political suicide.

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