More than 800 Internet cafés have filed mandatory paperwork in response to the Ohio Attorney General’s efforts to get a handle on the number of such establishments in the state and halt their growth, at least until regulations can be put in place.
A new Ohio law placed a one-year moratorium on the opening of new Internet cafés, effective June 11, 2012. It also required all cafés operating as of that date to file affidavits with the Attorney General’s Office listing the names, addresses, and owners of the businesses. So far, 816 businesses have done so.
Law enforcement agencies are asked to advise the Attorney General’s Office if they know of businesses in their jurisdictions that have not filed affidavits or that opened after the moratorium took effect. A list of businesses that have filed the mandatory paperwork appears at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/SweepstakesAffidavits
Irregularities should be reported to the Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section at 800-282-0515. Establishments suspected to be fronts for money laundering or other criminal activities should be reported to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation at 855-BCI-OHIO (224-6446).
Attorney General Mike DeWine is alarmed at the number of cafés that have sprung up in Ohio, mostly in the northern half of the state. Unlike Ohio’s “racinos” or voter-approved casinos, the cafés are not subject to state regulation, licensing, or oversight — a situation the Attorney General is working with the legislature to remedy.
“Ohioans currently have no way of knowing that these games are what the cafés report them to be or if they are being completely ripped off by the owners,” Attorney General DeWine said.