TALLAHASSEE – The Florida First District Court of Appeal upheld a lower court ruling that two games of chance installed by Gator Coin at adult businesses are indeed slot machines.
The appeal was filed by Gator Coin II Inc. and Blue Sky Games, two gaming companies that challenged the ruling of the Circuit Court for Leon County. Judge Joseph Lewis Jr. on Aug. 30, wrote in his opinion, “We agree with the trial court’s conclusion and therefore, affirm.”
The controversy concerns Blue Sky Games, developer of Version 67, which maintained that the game was created for amusement, not gambling. Blue Sky Games alleged that it was trying to avoid operating under Florida gambling guidelines, according to the complaint.
The game was leased to Gator Coin, which in turn installed some of the games in bars and other adult businesses. As a result, the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco notified two of Gator Coin’s customers that the machines were considered to be illegal slot machines and ordered that the machines be removed, according to the lawsuit.
The controversy concerns Blue Sky Games, developer of Version 67, which maintained that the game was created for amusement, not gambling. Courtesy of Morguefile.com
Gator Coin filed a Complaint for declaratory judgment in court, seeking a ruling that Version 67 is not an illegal slot machine, but is a legal amusement machine. Blue Sky Games was permitted to join in the action.
A non-jury trial was held and during that time, court records state that “the undisputed evidence established that Version 67 is a profitable game that depicts traditional slot machine symbols, such as reels. It takes $1 to $20 bills; and the amount of return to the player varies by the amount of money played.”
The trial court found that Version 67 is presumed to be a prohibited slot machine because it falls within the parameters of section 849.16(3) and stated that “the evidence did not overcome that presumption.”
Judge Lewis in his ruling said, “While it is true that the user is advised of the outcome of the game at hand ahead of time through the preview feature, the user cannot predict that outcome until it is randomly generated and then displayed by the machine. As the trial court recognized, section 849.16’s definition of slot machine is satisfied regardless of when the outcome is generated or when it is made known to the user, and nothing in the statute requires that each game be analyzed in isolation without considering its relationship to subsequent games.”
He continued, “Therefore, pursuant to the plain language of section 849.16(1) and well-established case law, Version 67 is an illegal slot machine. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.”
Judge Stephanie W. Ray and Judge James R. Wolf both concurred with the ruling of Judge Lewis.