Ohio crackdown on Internet cafes runs out of time - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Ohio crackdown on Internet cafes out of time

Posted: Updated:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Don't bet on a crackdown this year on gambling operations known as Internet cafes.
    
The Ohio Senate won't act before the session ends this month on a proposal that amounts to a virtual ban on the game parlors, Senate spokeswoman Angela Meleca said Tuesday.
    
Senate President Tom Niehaus has told his Republican caucus that he would not bring the bill to a vote, citing a lack of time to fully vet the measure, Meleca said.
    
The Senate aims to finish its work for the year by Thursday.
    
The bill was approved by a 2-to-1 margin in House earlier this month. It would shut down nearly all of the estimated 800 sites by narrowly defining what counts as a sweepstake.
    
Opponents say the Internet cafe computer games that operate like slot machines with cash prizes amount to illegal gambling.
    
Customers pay for Internet time or phone cards and use them to bet points on computers loaded with games such as poker. Operators say they sell legitimate products with a chance to win a prize.
    
The announcement of the proposal's demise this session came on the heels of a packed Senate hearing on the issue.
    
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has led the push to get rid of the businesses. He told a Senate panel on Tuesday that the amount of cash flowing through the operations made them ripe places for money laundering, organized crime and drug dealings.
    
Plus, he said cafes offered the chance for consumers to be scammed. "We don't know what the payout is to the people who go into these Internet cafes," he said.
    
It's been nearly two years since lawmakers first began weighing what to do about these sweepstakes games that are largely unregulated and don't face the same scrutiny as casinos and other games of chance. Some favored new regulations while others wanted a ban on the Internet cafes.
    
DeWine told lawmakers he preferred a ban, but he would leave the decision up to the state Legislature. "The status quo is simply unacceptable," he added.
    
The Republican attorney general said later Tuesday that he was disappointed the Senate wouldn't consider the bill.
    
"I'm optimistic that the momentum on this issue will continue and the new General Assembly will act early next year," DeWine said in a statement.
    
Opponents to the bill lined the hearing room behind DeWine. Many wore T-shirts claiming the measure would take away their jobs.
    
Owners and employees of Internet cafes had rallied in Cleveland on Monday, warning that forcing them out of business could cost 4,000 jobs or more.

  • RegionalMore>>

  • Player ordered to trial for fatal punch of referee

    Player ordered to trial for fatal punch of referee

    Thursday, July 31 2014 10:36 PM EDT2014-08-01 02:36:18 GMT
    A recreational soccer player will stand trial for the one-punch slaying of a referee who was about to penalize and eject him from a game in suburban Detroit.
    A recreational soccer player will stand trial for the one-punch slaying of a referee who was about to penalize and eject him from a game in suburban Detroit.
  • Kings Island trying for Guinness World Record

    Kings Island trying for Guinness World Record

    Thursday, July 31 2014 10:28 PM EDT2014-08-01 02:28:23 GMT
    MASON, Ohio (AP) - A southwestern Ohio amusement park will try to top a Guinness record for the most heads shaved simultaneously to help raise awareness and money to fight cancer.Kings Island says more than 200 hair stylists from Great Clips salons in Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland, Lima and Toledo will shave heads Friday at the park north of Cincinnati.The Guinness World Records website says the current record at 182 heads shaved simultaneously was achieved by Cancer Council ACT-Can...
    MASON, Ohio (AP) - A southwestern Ohio amusement park will try to top a Guinness record for the most heads shaved simultaneously to help raise awareness and money to fight cancer.Kings Island says more than 200 hair stylists from Great Clips salons in Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland, Lima and Toledo will shave heads Friday at the park north of Cincinnati.The Guinness World Records website says the current record at 182 heads shaved simultaneously was achieved by Cancer Council ACT-Can...
  • Michigan inmate mistakenly released for 5 days

    Michigan inmate mistakenly released for 5 days

    Thursday, July 31 2014 3:03 PM EDT2014-07-31 19:03:49 GMT
    Berrien County officials say an inmate waiting to be sentenced for sexually assaulting a child was mistakenly released due to a paperwork problem.
    Berrien County officials say an inmate waiting to be sentenced for sexually assaulting a child was mistakenly released due to a paperwork problem.
  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • $3.5 million left after transfer to balance Toledo's budget

    $3.5 million left after transfer to balance Toledo's budget

    Thursday, July 31 2014 11:05 PM EDT2014-08-01 03:05:31 GMT
    $3.5 million; that's how much money the city has left over after a transfer to balance the 2014 budget."This is good news," city finance director, George Sarantou said. Expensess were kept down and we did come out ahead of this. We're taking very seriously our mission and that is to reduce the dependency on the capital improvements budget."In March, city council passed a budget that included the transfer of $14.1 million from the CIP to the general fund to balance the books. But the city only...
    $3.5 million; that's how much money the city has left over after a transfer to balance the 2014 budget."This is good news," city finance director, George Sarantou said. Expensess were kept down and we did come out ahead of this. We're taking very seriously our mission and that is to reduce the dependency on the capital improvements budget."In March, city council passed a budget that included the transfer of $14.1 million from the CIP to the general fund to balance the books. But the city only...
  • Car crashes into Dick's Sporting Goods in Perkins Twp.

    Car crashes into Dick's Sporting Goods in Perkins Twp.

    Two people were hospitalized after a car smashed into a Dick's Sporting Goods store in Perkins Twp.
  • Player ordered to trial for fatal punch of referee

    Player ordered to trial for fatal punch of referee

    Thursday, July 31 2014 10:36 PM EDT2014-08-01 02:36:18 GMT
    A recreational soccer player will stand trial for the one-punch slaying of a referee who was about to penalize and eject him from a game in suburban Detroit.
    A recreational soccer player will stand trial for the one-punch slaying of a referee who was about to penalize and eject him from a game in suburban Detroit.

Area Events Calendar

See It, Shoot It, Send It!