Ohio attorney general seeks to close sweepstakes parlor

Staff report


Ohio Atty. Gen. Mike DeWine has sued to close an Austintown retail sweepstakes establishment, saying he has “reasonable cause” to believe that it is operating in violation of the state’s moratorium on new gambling parlors of this type.

The civil lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court against Winner’s Palace II, 1698 S. Raccoon Road, and its owner, Gino A. Maurizio, who could not be reached to comment.

Ohio House Bill 386 barred the opening of any such establishments after June 11, 2012, and required those in existence before that date to file an affidavit by July 11, 2012, certifying that they were open before June 11 of that year.

Because Winner’s Palace II did not file such an affidavit, “There exists a presumption that Winner’s Palace II was not open and operating as a sweepstakes establishment prior to the moratorium’s going into effect June 11, 2012,” the lawsuit says.

The complaint is accompanied by an affidavit from a case investigator from the state attorney general’s charitable law section, saying he “witnessed a gaming room with approximately 53 sweepstakes terminal devices in operation” at the Raccoon Road establishment when he visited it Monday afternoon.

DeWine seeks a preliminary injunction barring Maurizio from operating a retail sweepstakes establishment at the Raccoon Road location or anywhere else where it wasn’t in operation before June 11, 2012.

The case is assigned to Judge John M. Durkin.

No preliminary injunction hearing has been scheduled.

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