Rushed changes in US gambling laws may have some unintended consequences, as the recent example of Florida demonstrates.
The state is not among those where American internet casino are legal, nevertheless many internet cafes found a way to get around the regulations and deliver some serious online gambling to their patrons.
When the state moved to close down such online gambling conducted from internet cafes, the aim was to eliminate “unscrupulous operators who have found loopholes in the statutes,” according to Sen. John Thrasher (R) who authored the proposal.
An expected side effect was to deny Florida’s elderly their long standing habit of small-scale social gambling. On the other hand the bill also managed to scare nonprofit organizations into excluding the state from their contest offers that have nothing whatsoever to do with gambling.
One such organization is the AARP, assisting and representing citizens 50 and older. The organization was recently forced to keep Floridians out of its “New Face of 50” contest, because its prizes – $5,000 and a photo-shoot – fall afoul of the letter of the law.
A statement from AARP said the group “was surprised by the consequences of this new law,” but had no choices.
As a long time retirement destination, Florida hardly intended to slap its pensioner population with such restrictions, when all it wanted to do was to put an end to illegal gambling.
Indeed, reflecting on the AARP case, Sen. Thrasher himself said that excluding such organizations was definitely not the intent of the law. Corrections will have to wait until the 2014 legislative session, though.