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Arcade owners hire constitutional lawyer Bruce Rogow, prepare for legal challenge

Just hours after Gov. Rick Scott signed into law legislation that immediately outlawed machines operated by Internet cafes and senior arcades in Florida, more than 100 members of the Florida Arcades Association met in Pompano Beach with constitutional law expert Bruce Rogow and prepared to take the state to court.

"I think that there is probably no choice but to file a lawsuit," Rogow told the Associated Press after the 4 p.m. meeting called by Gale Fontaine, head of the arcades association.

Rogow said he believes that in their haste to give law enforcement additional tools to crackdown on illegal machines at Internet cafes throughout the state and maquinitas parlors in Miami, lawmakers also targeted arcade operators with vaguely-worded language that he considers arbitrary and irrational.

"It's not that they made these machines illegal; they just had to slow them down and hobble them,'' Rogow told the Herald/Times on Wednesday.

Rogow, an attorney based in Fort Lauderdale, said he believes there are several flaws in the law Florida lawmakers passed in reaction to the federal and state probe into Internet cafes operated by Allied Veterans of the World.

For example, the law imposes a series of requirements that attempt to slow the play of the game on arcade machines, but appear to have no rationale legal basis, he said. Among the new requirements: the arcades may only use machines that operate using only coins, not dollar bills. The law prohibits casino-style games but does not describe them and it bans giving gift cards as prizes but allows for merchandise.

"Are gift cards merchandize?'' Rogow asked. "They are exchangeable for merchandise."

In a message to arcade owners, Fontaine said the meeting would be open only to members and said that anyone who attended must join the organization. The group is asking arcade owners, whose financial future is now in jeopardy, to contribute to a legal fund to pay for Rogow's expenses.

Broward County is the epicenter of the adult arcade industry with two companies that manufacturer and distribute the machines based there, as well as several  successful senior arcades.

Manufacturers have said they are attempting to work out a way to retrofit their machines to comply with the law at the same time they contemplate a lawsuit.

They have asked members to find examples of law enforcement engaging in selective enforcement of the law -- allowing illegal machines at restaurants, retail stores, airports, skating rinks and other venues while forcing arcades that cater to seniors to close down. They want members to photograph the questionable machines and file complaints to police to underscore the impact of the new law.

Comments

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whasup

Just wait for when an important law enforcement agency goes after on the machine (i.e., computer) companies that has been in the arcade business.

The basis for the enforcement action existed before the whole recent unpleasantness about these fake charity gambling machines.

We may not have enough popcorn to snack on while the show goes on.

Josephine

Let them battle it out in the Courts, but keep the cash gambling dens closed down. The basis for the enforcement action existed from their beginning. This was illegal unregulated gambling and it is sad that it took the Feds and the charity fraud to call attention to it. Let us have real regulated casinos instead of these fake arcades.

SANDY HOFF

It is discriminatory practice to allow only American Indians to own and operate casinos in Florida. All the while the politicians are accepting campaign contributions from the operation of those casinos. Political pandering, as well as racial discrimination is evident, because most of the Internet Café owners are minorities. Allied Vets, however was not owned by a minority, but, our Lt. Governor should have done her homework.

Jason Sotto Orlando Pediatric Dentist

It is sad that is took this long for the state of Florida to take action on this issue. Add in the State's inability to deal with the Pill Mill issue and we have a strong record of inaction. Nice!

timtopper

Someone needs to count up the total number of bills Scott has signed that have been disallowed by the courts.
Add this one to the growing list.

Ginny

Amazing when you line pockets with cash the things you can make into law..Arcades are legal businesses covered by law and tested in the courts over the years

Dan Lubbers

Looks like the legislature has to be involved in the 290 Million dollar fiasco. Where is all the money? Why else would they ram rod this bill thru so fast? Penalizing senior arcades, who until they passed this travesty allowed seniors fellowship and pastime .All the while running a legitimate business. The Courts need to rule!
Dan Lubbers

judy mccracken

A senior with a senior mom.... where else can I take a wheelchair bound woman for community, social outings and enjoy playing a few games right beside me.. like kids.. $20 bucks to entertain mom... I also take visitors that dont want the beach, the boat, the travel to other areas ... we had local arcades that filled the bill.. now Im being told that I can not offer or do that any longer..the Gov of this State and his henchmen have taken that from me just because they can. I will remember at election.. Is the Lottery, Hard Rock, the Boat gambling?.... Very angry Senior....

Ray Busse

The arcade business provides, a cheap relaxing atmosphere for our seniors and other people who have no other place to go. You dont see on the news or hear from our politicians what else they do. A game room in ft. myers, served thanksgiving dinner to 80 people and christmas dinner to 60 people, who would have been alone on the holidays. So because a politician got caught with her hand in the cookie jar, they come after the senior arcades? Are these senators going to be serving holiday meals to these people now?

Concerned Citizen

If the legislature is so interested in the "deliterious" effects of gaming, then why didn't they look to a study that should have been performed when they agreed to accept $12.5 million dollars from the Seminoles in exchange for Las Vegas style slots? Oh...no study performed? What next? X-Box games where children are playing Grand Theft Auto and Killing other players. Will there be a study that concludes outlawing the sale of these games in Florida? The Florida Lottery is gambling and is advertised at every gas pump across the state! They issued a demand on the Adult Arcades to use coins instead of card systems. Why don't we all go back to horse and buggy and turn in the cars?

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