(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced he is recommending legislation to establish oversight of gaming that takes place at internet cafes and similar establishments. The proposal will address electronic games that look like slot machines, which can mislead players and cause confusion for law enforcement.
"Internet cafes and sweepstakes that are skirting the law are growing in many of our communities. By establishing oversight of these previously unregulated games, law enforcement, consumers, and charities can all operate in a more fair environment," DeWine said.
Working with State Representatives Nan Baker (R-Westlake) and Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills), who will sponsor legislation, the Attorney General's Office has developed a proposal to clarify the legality of electronic games for law enforcement and to provide assurance to Ohio consumers who want to play skill-based games or participate in sweepstakes or internet cafes that they are not being swindled. Under the proposal, any skill-based amusement machine or sweepstakes machine would be required to:
- Undergo a pre-play certification process.
- Obtain a license issued by the Casino Control Commission and paid for by the applicant that certifies that the machines have been tested by an outside laboratory. The license would be required to be displayed for easy public inspection, and certification would be at the expense of the operator or manufacturer.
- Post stickers on each machine providing an instant verifiable sign to law enforcement and proving that the operator has a license and that each machine has passed inspection.
- Face criminal penalties for violating the licensing requirements.
"As Attorney General, I am working to protect Ohio families and ensure that our state doesn't turn into the 'Wild, Wild West' with unregulated operators taking advantage of Ohioans. This new system will provide transparency and accountability in an industry that currently reaps millions of dollars in profits," said DeWine.
In addition to Representatives Baker and Anielski, Ohio Casino Control Commission Chairwoman JoAnn Davidson joined DeWine for the announcement. Under the proposal, the newly created Commission would help oversee and enforce the regulations enacted for such electronic games. "I am pleased to have a partner in the Ohio Casino Control Commission who can assist in overseeing electronic skill and sweepstakes machines in Ohio," DeWine said.
Any Ohioan who has concerns about a questionable gaming operation in their area should contact the Attorney General's Office to file a complaint by calling 800-282-0515 or by visiting www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/ConsumerComplaint.
Lisa Hackley: 614-466-3840
Eve Mueller: 614-466-3840
View "Gambling in Ohio: A Guide to What is Legal, What is Not, and What Needs to be Fixed."
mp3 Audio of News Conference (Part 1 of 3)
mp3 Audio of News Conference (Part 2 of 3)
mp3 Audio of News Conference (Part 3 of 3)