JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A move to ban gambling in Florida has a surprise consequence. The AARP says Florida members can no longer participate in popular nationwide contests.
When investigators shut down 51 Allied Veterans of the World Internet cafes in March, Florida lawmakers were swift to further define a gray area cafe owners were operating in.
The move pleased Joan Martin.
"I'm glad to see some action was taken. Anything that we can do to help bring down crime."
But Action News has learned the new law has surprise casualties, like the AARP’s popular Retirement Giveaway that promises the winner $50,000, and the annual Grandparent's Day photo contest with a $5,000 prize
The bill’s sponsor, Florida State Senator John Trasher, says the law wasn’t supposed to target groups with good intentions…
But he does think it was written the right way.
"We weren't trying to target AARP or any other type of individual organization like that. I hope it doesn't. I think it's a fair thing that they are doing, but if it does, then they maybe need to modify [the contest] in some way."
But the AARP and longtime members like Martin think lawmakers should head back to the drawing board too.
"We needed them to take action, but we don't need to go overboard with anything. Maybe they should go back and check it out."
The AARP has 2.7 million members in Florida. It released the following statement from state director Jeff Johnson:
“AARP Florida was surprised by the consequences of this new law. While we are disappointed for those of our members who won’t be able to participate in AARP’s contests or sweepstakes, we are more concerned for how this could impact other non-profit organizations across the state. I am sure that state officials will be sorting through these unintended consequences and hope they will clarify this situation.”