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Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4634
Experience:  23 Years as attorney, licensed NY and FL. Former US ATTY.
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I live in Jacksonville, Florida where currently there are thousands

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I live in Jacksonville, Florida where currently there are thousands of sweepstakes slot machines operating supposedly legally, or so the office of the sheriff letters they display say. From what I understand, Duval county is receiving a percentage of their earnings, which are tracked online; all machines not hooked up online are being confiscated and are considered illegal. Recently arrests have been made. I run a coin-op amusement machine business - the only one in Jacksonville that has not purchased any of these 'sweepstakes machines.' Since this rave of gambling has overtaken the county and much of the state, I have had several requests to buy quarter pusher machines for almost all of my locations - some of which have those 'sweepstakes' machines from other companies, and the owners claim they are making thousands of dollars from the other companies' 'sweepstakes' machines. My problem lies in that my company is the only one refusing to participate in these slot machines that are operating under a sweepstakes ruse, and I fear that if I fail to supply quarter pusher machines for those asking, eventually these other companies will eventually take over my entire route. I've been told quarter pusher machines are illegal when their payout is just quarters at a time. I recently bought a few quarter pushers, placed them in some of my better locations - an act of damage control. Instead of attaching one hundred dollar bills to objects too heavy to ever be pushed over the ledge - a common practice by some quarter pusher machine operators here in Jacksonville, I sought to appeal to the amusement side of the customers' experience, I "baited" the machines with tokens that have my company's logo and read, "Good for one... Draft Beer, Bottled Beer, Mixed Drink, or Shot" - these tokens' drinks are comp-ed by the bar owners, deeming their value to nothing, and then I put some single and five dollar bills in them along with trinkets worth less than five dollars each. Am I breaking the law? If so, then how can authorities justify my machines that clearly state on each machine - FOR AMUSEMENT PURPOSES ONLY as illegal when they are allowing these other 'sweepstakes' machines that are paying out thousands of dollars? I'd like to add: Quarter pusher machines are found all over Florida - in convenience stores, laundry mats, bars and restaurants. If they are illegal, what is the worst that could happen to me and/or my business?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  FLACORPLAWYER replied 5 years ago.


849.15 Manufacture, sale, possession, etc., of coin-operated devices prohibited.—

(1) It is unlawful:
(a) To manufacture, own, store, keep, possess, sell, rent, lease, let on shares, lend or give away, transport, or expose for sale or lease, or to offer to sell, rent, lease, let on shares, lend or give away, or permit the operation of, or for any person to permit to be placed, maintained, or used or kept in any room, space, or building owned, leased or occupied by the person or under the person’s management or control, any slot machine or device or any part thereof; or

(b) To make or to permit to be made with any person any agreement with reference to any slot machine or device, pursuant to which the user thereof, as a result of any element of chance or other outcome unpredictable to him or her, may become entitled to receive any money, credit, allowance, or thing of value or additional chance or right to use such machine or device, or to receive any check, slug, token or memorandum entitling the holder to receive any money, credit, allowance or thing of value.


So let's introduce some real law to this situation. All of these machines are illegal under Florida law. Some police and sheriff agencies enforce the law. The city of Miami just cracked down and removed thousands of these machines. Some police agencies are lazy, shiftless, in the pockets of the people running the games, too busy to care, etc. But the LAW cannot be more clear.


Then how are crane machines considered legal? Also, there is a newer version of these machines called 'Stackers' which offer the chance at redemption for prizes worth hundreds, even at times a thousand dollars; how are these machines considered legal?

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