Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to bring new regulations.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who has made no secret of his disdain for gambling joints cloaked in the innocent-sounding title of Internet cafes, will welcome the chance to tackle these unregulated, unlicensed procedures in a court of law. The Ohio General Assembly should make DeWine's desire become a reality.

Rather than pass legislation that redefines the phrase sweepstakes in a goal to render the Internet cafes unlawful, the Republican led General Assembly must act on a clean bill that would prohibit the word is not open to analysis the 819 outlets already functioning in Ohio. There are a substantial number of the establishments in the Mahoning Valley.

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Such an action would undoubtedly trigger a court difficulty, which would then offer Attorney General DeWine a possibility to strut his legal stuff. For the past two years, the state's highest lawyer has wanted to the Legislature to rescind on these gambling parlors, however the greatest lawmakers could possibly create was a pause on such locations till June 30, 2013. In so doing, they provided de facto acknowledgment to the cafes that have actually been working outside the laws that put on gambling in Ohio.

Recognizing the disadvantages of the law, state Rep. Matt Huffman, R-Lima, has actually presented a bill that he believes would have the impact of banning the Internet cafes because of the redefinition of the phrase sweepstakes.

Yet, as the Columbus Dispatch reported, a Columbus legal representative who represents many managers, said he believes that Huffman's legislation would place the cafes under the authority of the Ohio Lottery Commission.

If Atty. Kurt Gearhiser's studying of the bill is proper, the aim of a shutting down this uncontrolled $ 1 billion-a-year company, as the Dispatch determined it, would certainly not be realized.

The 819 facilities do not have a constitutional right to exist. The creation of the Ohio Lottery Commission, gambling that perks charities and Vegas-style gambling with the construction of four full-service casinos in certain cities in Ohio transpired through amendments to the Ohio Constitution.

Internet sweepstakes cafes we're not consisted of in any of the ballot language. Ohio electors we're never asked if they supported the creation of this not regulated, unlicensed industry that is now in competition with the Ohio Lottery and casinos accepted for Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.

As Jennifer Kulczycki, spokeswoman for Rock Ohio Caesars, owner-operators of the Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland and a comparable casino to open in Cincinnati following spring, advised the Dispatch, the cafes are "carrying out unauthorized gambling activity These businesses are skirting the law and staying away from fundamental scrutiny."

She stated casinos, by comparison, are "among the most-regulated businesses on the planet." Attorney General DeWine mentions that the gambling devices utilized in the cafes are not policed by the state.

No evaluations

He stated they are not checked and there is no required payout. On the other hand, slots and video-lottery terminals in casinos and future racinos are closely kept track of by the state. In addition, agents have to pay a minimum of 85 percent of the cash gambled.

The owners of the Internet cafes have actually been resourceful scofflaws. They'll manipulate any kind of loophole the Legislature provides.

Just what should be done is instead easy: The General Assembly ought to pass a bill that uses the word ban with regard to Internet sweepstakes cafes in Ohio.

A statewide suspension on the introduction of Internet sweepstakes cafes through the following June didn't influence the local Double Diamond Sweepstakes establishment at 1003 Pike St., as reported by business manager Cassie Hickman."This site launched back in December, prior to the moratorium, so we're not involved," she pointed out.The El Paso, Texas-based company did submit an affidavit via Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office, as demanded by internet sweepstakes cafes presently running before the moratorium that started June 11, 2012.As reported by the Attorney General's Web site, Double Diamond is the exclusive Internet sweepstakes cafe presently working in Washington County.But the establishment encounters firm competitors from an array of comparable Internet cafes throughout the Ohio River in West Virginia alone. There are four just in Williamstown."Business has been lagging lately-we had around 30 customers last week," Hickman pointed out. "However we're striving to make it grow-we provide daily competitions and raffle off a television two times each month. And every Wednesday we inquire individuals to bring meals for the nearby food pantries."Double Diamond hours are from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily and they offer an assortment of Internet gaming for consumers age 18 and up.Hickman stated customers play for various reasons."Some come normally to play to win sweepstakes money, but others simply visit to unwind and relax awhile," she pointed out. "It's merely a form of recreation for them."At A GlimpseA part of Amended Substitute House Bill 386, signed into law June 11, put a suspension on the introduction of new Internet sweepstakes cafes in Ohio from June 2012 to June 2013.A minimum of 772 Internet sweepstakes parlors we're actually in operation in the state before the moratorium.Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine concludes there are beyond 7,000 Internet sweepstakes terminals that ought to come under statewide law.There is only one Internet sweepstakes establishment presently enrolled in Washington County.Source: Ohio Attorney General's OfficeDouble Diamond was among 667 already existing cafes that submitted affidavits via DeWine's office by the July 11 target date, as reported by the Ohio Attorney General's Site. And an additional 105 submitted beyond the target date."The complete number of Internet cafe sweepstakes parlors only continues rising," DeWine said in a current news release."Obviously there are more of them than anybody predicted, which just emphasizes the requirement for statewide law," he included.DeWine stated there are likely many more Internet sweepstakes terminals running in Ohio than there are slots and video lottery terminals at the state's casinos and racetracks. He predicted there could be a minimum of 7,600 sweepstakes terminals, compared with 5,873 video lottery terminals currently operational in the state.Charlie McLeish, who runs McLeish Auction Service on Margaret Street, about a block from the Double Diamond center, has no problem with the company being found on Pike Road."You most likely would not know they're there," he stated. "I do not believe they have a great deal of company."Whipple citizen Patricia Buck has no interest in playing games at Internet sweepstakes centers."I believe they could create a great deal of issues, yet I think the state needs to moderate them-they tax anything else, then the state could lessen the quantity the remainder of us must pay," she stated.

Ohio may have even more unregulated Internet cafe gambling terminals in operation than regulated electronic slots, Attorney General Mike DeWine stated today.

DeWine's office received affidavits of operation from another 105 Internet cafes in the past week, raising the total to 772.

"The overall number of Internet cafe sweepstakes parlors simply keeps going up and up," DeWine stated in releasing the upgraded number a week after the filing target date specified by a new state law.

DeWine predicts that there presently may be more computer Internet sweepstakes terminals (at the very least 7,600) operating in the state than video slots in use at casinos as well as racinos (5,873).

House Bill 386, authorized by the General Assembly and also signed in to law by Gov. John Kasich this year, provided a moratorium on new Internet cafes until July 2013 and also required existing businesses to record "an affidavit of existence" with the state. The affidavits offer the initial dependable statistics on the number of such gambling establishments; previous state estimations pegged the total at 280.

The Internet gambling parlors may be generating "hundreds of millions (of bucks) of uncontrolled money," DeWine said.

DeWine mentioned some unusual details in the numbers, consisting of affidavits for sites" claiming to have functioned and provided sweepstakes prior to the effective time of the statute, when in fact there is no place presently working at that address."

The establishments typically open in vacant storefronts and have sweepstakes components appearing like slots. Clients purchase phone cards as well as Internet time to play casino-style games, anticipating big payouts.

DeWine stated recording a false affidavit is a crime under state law.

"We will definitely continue to collaborate with regional police to check out the existence of internet cafes as well as will take the proper action against those who are breaching the law," he said.

Three northern Ohio counties Cuyahoga, Lorain and also Lake accounted for a blended 211 Internet cafes. Fifteen others, consisting of Stark, Trumbull, Mahoning, Summit and also Portage, had double-digit websites.Twenty-eight of Ohio's 88 counties had no signed up places.It's a winner that there are possibly a lot more of these companies that either failed to remember to subscribe or didn't learn about the need.Parlors began starting outlet in earnest after the state cracked down on skill-based gaming, governing jackpot values and positioning some other restrictions on such operations to stop the proliferation of slot machine-style gambling that was taking place at the time.Yet Internet Cafes proprietors determined away to carry on supplying electronic gaming that, adversaries say, is incredibly like slot machines.Legislation has been offered in both the Ohio House and also Senate that would definitely require sweepstakes parlors to fulfill gaming procedures equivalent to those in location for casinos, but those statements have gone no place over the previous year.That seems odd, offered the proceeding pricing constraints encountering the state and the prospective money-flowing tap that moderated Internet cafes would supply to the state coffers.Yes, people who check out these businesses are adults. They could spend their funds anyway they choose within the confines of the law. If they desire to dump bucks into the wallets of parlor operators, so be it.However Ohioans should be aghast that that legislators have not done a little something to guarantee these companies aren't swindling citizens."These internet cafes are growing at a disconcerting price, and also I once again am supporting the Ohio General Assembly to function swiftly to govern them with the same analysis as some other kinds of gaming in Ohio," DeWine said in a discharged statement. "Ohioans presently have no means of understanding that these games are just what the cafes state them to be or if they are being completely swindled by the managers."

COLUMBUS, Ohio Ohio has at least 667 internet sweepstakes cafes, more than twice the number state officials had estimated four months ago. And northern Ohio has the lion's share.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine released the numbers Thursday, calling for more regulation of the establishments.

A new state law put a moratorium on new internet cafes or electronic sweepstakes parlors. Any cafe in operation before June 11 had to submit an affidavit of existence to the attorney general's office by Wednesday.

The attorney general's office received 667 affidavits. It counted 280 cafes in March.

Cuyahoga County had the most cafes, with 75, followed by Lorain County, with 70, and Lake County, with 66. Summit County had 24, Medina had nine and Geauga had five.

"These internet cafes are multiplying at an alarming rate, and I again am encouraging the Ohio General Assembly to act swiftly to regulate them with the same scrutiny as other forms of gaming in Ohio," DeWine said in a news release. "Ohioans currently have no way of knowing that these games are what the cafes report them to be or if they are being completely ripped off by the owners."

Previous Plain Dealer coverage

  • At least 9 more Internet sweepstakes cafes can open again in Cuyahoga County (June 21, 2012)
  • Judge allows 4 Cuyahoga County Internet cafes shut by Mason to reopen (June 14)
  • Owner of Internet sweepstakes cafes in Cleveland goes to court to block closing order (June 6)
  • Cuyahoga County prosecutor says Internet sweepstakes cafes are illegal (May 30)
  • More coverage of Internet sweepstakes cafes

DeWine said that because the cafes are not regulated under Ohio law like casinos and racinos, there is no way to keep track of who profits from them, where the money goes and any criminal activity linked to the cafes.

Attorneys for sweepstakes operators argue that the Ohio law legitimizes these businesses and furthers the argument that sweepstakes are not illegal gambling.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason has attempted to shut down the establishments. On May 30, he charged seven businesses and 10 people who sold and distributed software systems to area cafes with gambling, money laundering and racketeering. Operators of 53 cafes we're notified by letter to close their businesses.

Three cafe owners filed lawsuits seeking to reopen their establishments in June. Common Pleas Judge Nancy Margaret Russo granted their request, and also allowed those cafes using the software to reopen, reversing a previous decision.

Mason has filed a motion with the state Supreme Court in hopes of overturning Russo's temporary restraining order that allowed the businesses to open and to prevent her from making a decision on the legality of the cafes.


(COLUMBUS, Ohio)Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced that his office received667 affidavits from owners of internet cafes. The affidavits we're required as part of Am. Sub. H.B. 386 which put a moratorium on any new electronic sweepstakes parlors or internet cafs. All sweepstakes establishments in existence and operating prior to the effective date of the legislation, which was June 11, 2012, we're required to complete an affidavit of existence. The deadline to submit the affidavits to the Attorney Generals Office was July 11, 2012.

The number reported today is more than twice as high as an earlier total of 280 tallied statewide by the Attorney Generals Office staff in March 2012. In addition, the data from the affidavits is similar to the March study in that these cafes are primarily located north of Interstate I-70.

These internet cafes are multiplying at an alarming rate, and I again am encouraging the Ohio General Assembly to act swiftly to regulate them with the same scrutiny as other forms of gaming in Ohio, said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. Ohioans currently have no way of knowing that these games are what the cafes report them to be or if they are being completely ripped off by the owners.

This huge number of parlors is capable of generating hundreds of millions of unregulated cash. Since there is no state regulation, licensing or oversight, there is no way to determine who is getting the money, where the money is going, whether any of these operators are felons, or whether any other criminal activity is funded by these proceeds.

DeWine first called for the regulation of internet cafes in March 2011 and has backed both House Bill 195 and Senate Bill 317 that are currently pending in the Ohio General Assembly. With the advent of racinos at racetracks and the new casinos that have opened in Cleveland and Toledo, many Ohioans may assume that all types of gambling are legal and regulated by the state. While racinos and casinos are, internet cafes are unregulated and likely illegal forms of gambling.


CLEVELAND (AP) - An Internet "sweepstakes" cafe owner is challenging efforts by a prosecutor in Ohio's largest county who wants to shut down such businesses and says they're really illegal gambling operations.

The businesses offer games that function like slot machines with cash prizes. Last week, the Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH'-guh) County prosecutor sent letters to about 50 cafe operators in the county ordering them to close immediately.

The Plain Dealer reports (http://bit.ly/M7i1Tp) 2 of those facilities are owned by J&C Marketing LLC, which is asking a county judge to block the prosecutor from enforcing that order. A hearing is set for Monday.

An assistant prosecutor said the county was preparing a response to the court filing. He says most of the county's sweepstakes cafes have closed since the order, but a few remain open.

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Posted in Law Post Date 03/28/2015






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