Florida Appeals Court Debates What Constitutes a Slot Machine
The term slot machine can sometimes be used generically to describe a real money gambling machine at a land-based casino or online at an internet casino gambling site. The discussion concerning ‘what is a slot machine’ has been taken to a whole new level in a current court case in Tallahassee, Florida. Click here to learn how electronic gambling machines work.
The 1st District Court of Appeal in the state’s capital heard arguments in this case on Tuesday according to a post on Floridapolitics.com by Jim Rosica. The basis of this lawsuit is a Jacksonville gaming company’s claim that if a video game offers a “pre-reveal” as to its outcome, it should not be considered a slot machine for the purpose of gambling as a game of chance.
Why Does Florida Debates What Constitutes a Slot Machine?
Bryan DeMaggio is the lead attorney for Gator Coin II, which distributes these pre-reveal games in bars and taverns across the state. He made his argument in this case in front of a three-judge panel with the main premise that the games preview the outcome in terms of winning or losing. Judge James R. Wolf clarified things by pointing out that the discussion at hand is not about knowing the outcome of any individual play. It is more about the unpredictability during the “entire course of play.”
In a direct quote contained in this Florida Politics’ report, the judge stated, “I understand that you don’t have to keep going, but come on, don’t make the argument they made in the trial court that people put money in just to see the fancy lights glow; that’s not why people put money in this machine.”
He went on to add, “They’re putting money in this machine because of the unpredictable outcome that’s going to come up. Other states facing this same issue as what’s a slot machine have ruled that pre-reveal games do constitute illegal gambling. The two states mentioned by name are Indiana and North Carolina.
Are Online Slot Machines Legal In The State Of Florida?
DeMaggio continued to push the issue by stating, “If the player knows each outcome, then he knows” in reference to the judge’s ‘entire course of play’ concern. He went on to add, “There are multiple levels you can click on…you can click around for 30 or 45 minutes looking at outcomes.”
This whole matter came to light when Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) agents told the owner of a sports bar in Jacksonville that the pre-reveal machine in the establishment was an “illegal gambling device.”
Circuit Judge John Cooper of Tallahassee first ruled that the pre-reveal game in question should not be considered to be a slot machine. Last year, the judge reversed his own decision by simply stating that he had “gotten it wrong the first time.”
Cooper’s reversal was heavily influenced by lawyer Barry Richard’s testimony that these types of machines are a direct violation of the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s exclusive right to offer slot machines outside of South Florida.
His written statement on the issue relayed in this report stated, “…the player must commit money to the machine to be privy to the next preview.” He added that the machines are an “illegal gaming scheme designed to circumvent gambling prohibitions.”
Previous News Article: Pennsylvania Lottery at Odds with State Casinos Over iLottery Slots