A Leon County circuit judge reversed his original decision on disputed ‘pre-reveal’ games
A Leon County circuit judge issued a formal ruling which, contrary to a previous decision made in March, claims that certain electronic games offered in bars and other establishments are in fact illegal slot machines.
A Reversed Judgement
Judge John Cooper filed a ‘final declaratory judgment’ this week which goes against his initial decision ruling in favor of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco.
Known as the ‘pre-reveal’ games, the disputed machines were initially described not as games of chance given the fact players had to ‘press a preview button before a play button can be activated’.
Judge Cooper stated in March that if the outcome of the game is known, it is not a game of chance and would not be ruled as a slot machine.
However, Cooper’s new order highlights the fact players ‘must commit money to the machine’ in order to ‘have a chance to receive an outcome other than what is currently displayed by the preview feature’. This way, the players are paying to play losing games hoping to win in subsequent games.
Illegal Pre-Reveal Games
The aforementioned playing pattern is described as an illegal gaming scheme designed to ‘circumvent gambling prohibitions’ Leon County circuit judge claimed in his new order.
Judge Cooper amended his original decision after a hearing during which a lawyer for Seminole Tribe of Florida, Barry Richard, informed him that machines in question violated the Tribe’s exclusive right to offer slot machines outside South Florida.
Richard cited a number of cases from other jurisdictions that had not previously been brought to the court’s attention and which are imperiling the state’s future cut of the gambling revenue estimated at billions of dollars.
Cooper made the reversal to the original ruling not based on the Tribe’s disagreement with the decision but based on the further evidence of how the pre-reveal games actually function and play.
The entire case against the ‘pre-reveal’ games known as “Version 67” produced by software developers Blue Sky Games was initiated when Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) agents determined that one of the games in a Jacksonville sports bar was an ‘illegal gambling device’.
Version 67 ‘pre-reveal’ games are leased by Jacksonville-based Gator Coin Inc. which sued the state after the aforementioned discovery.
The final decision from the Circuit Judge John Cooper allows Gator Coin to appeal to the 1st District Court of Appeal.