(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced that his office received 667 affidavits from owners of internet cafes. The affidavits were required as part of Am. Sub. H.B. 386 which put a moratorium on any new electronic sweepstakes parlors or internet cafés. All sweepstakes establishments in existence and operating prior to the effective date of the legislation, which was June 11, 2012, were required to complete an affidavit of existence. The deadline to submit the affidavits to the Attorney General’s Office was July 11, 2012.
The number reported today is more than twice as high as an earlier total of 280 tallied statewide by the Attorney General’s Office staff in March 2012. In addition, the data from the affidavits is similar to the March study in that these cafes are primarily located north of Interstate I-70.
“These internet cafes are multiplying at an alarming rate, and I again am encouraging the Ohio General Assembly to act swiftly to regulate them with the same scrutiny as other forms of gaming in Ohio,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “Ohioans currently have no way of knowing that these games are what the cafes report them to be or if they are being completely ripped off by the owners.”
This huge number of parlors is capable of generating hundreds of millions of unregulated cash. Since there is no state regulation, licensing or oversight, there is no way to determine who is getting the money, where the money is going, whether any of these operators are felons, or whether any other criminal activity is funded by these proceeds.
DeWine first called for the regulation of internet cafes in March 2011 and has backed both House Bill 195 and Senate Bill 317 that are currently pending in the Ohio General Assembly. With the advent of “racinos” at racetracks and the new casinos that have opened in Cleveland and Toledo, many Ohioans may assume that all types of gambling are legal and regulated by the state. While racinos and casinos are, internet cafes are unregulated and likely illegal forms of gambling.
Ohio Sweeptakes Parlor/Internet Cafe Statewide Location Map (PDF)
Ohio Sweeptakes Parlor/Internet Cafe Regional Location Map (PDF)
Summary of Ohio Sweepstakes Parlor/Internet Cafe Locations (Excel)
Detail of Ohio Sweepstakes Parlor/Internet Cafe Locations (Excel)
Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840
Lisa Hackley: 614-466-3840