Ohio raids up the ante over regulation of Internet cafes

Ohio raids up the ante over regulation of Internet cafes

Associated Press

FREMONT, Ohio

Raids carried out this month at a handful of Internet cafes in this northern Ohio town are again drawing attention to the debate over a proposal to regulate the businesses that offer games that function like slot machines with cash prizes.

Detectives, firefighters and even a few city street workers hauled out 200 computers and gaming machines along with $20,000 from the sites.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine wants to regulate the hundreds of game parlors around the state and supports a proposal that would require operators to be licensed and limit the number of games per site.

State officials who want to place limits on the parlors say the winners are pre-determined and the games are not based on skill. They say the operators are skirting Ohio’s gambling laws. DeWine has said it’s one of his top priorities.

Owners of the stores say they’re operating within the law.

“What we are doing is legal,” said Kurtiss Hirt, co-owner of an Internet cafi in Fremont. “We weren’t hiding.”

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