The Ohio General Assembly has passed a number of legislative provisions related to internet cafes, sometimes called sweepstakes establishments. It extended the moratorium on opening new establishments through June 30, 2014, and required existing establishments to file a required form by the end of June. A listing of organizations that filed affidavits in both 2012 and 2013 is provided below. Establishments not included on the 2013 list are not permitted to operate. Those concerned with operations at a location not on the list should contact local law enforcement or contact BCI at 855 BCI OHIO. File an online complaint through the Ohio Attorney General’s office.
The legislation also included other restrictions for the operation of sweepstakes machines. Effective Oct. 4, it is unlawful for establishments to pay out cash, gift cards or cash-equivalent prizes connected with the operation of the sweepstakes machines. It is also illegal to award plays on other games of chance such as lottery tickets, bingo and instant bingo tickets, firearms, tobacco or alcoholic beverages, or vouchers redeemable for any of those items. Merchandise prizes are limited to those with a wholesale value less than $10.
Oct. 18, Governor Kasich approved emergency rules governing the Ohio Attorney General’s oversight and registration requirements for internet cafes. These rules are effective until Jan. 16. The Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review will consider and approve permanent rules for the oversight and operation of sweepstakes establishments.
Mandatory Registration Process for the Operation of Internet Sweepstakes Terminal Device Facilities. The General Assembly empowered the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to regulate and register internet café/sweepstakes operations in Ohio. Attached below are the forms for individuals and entities operating the terminal devices. A registration form must be filed and the forms differ based on whether the applicant is an individual person or a corporation or other structure. For those qualifying for an exemption from the registration provisions, the certificate of compliance form should be used. Generally, only those with only one or two machines in a location will qualify for exemption. If an applicant has multiple locations, they may choose to use the forms for consolidated filing. Monthly or semi-annual reports are required for all operators of these devices.
It is illegal to operate a sweepstakes terminal device without obtaining a certificate of compliance or registering with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
All forms should be mailed to:
Ohio Attorney General
Charitable Law Section
150 E. Gay St., 23rd floor
Columbus, Oh 43215
Final Sweepstakes Individual Registration
Final Sweepstakes Registration Entity Filer
Form for Certificate of Compliance
Form for Consolidated Certificate of Compliance
Form for Consolidated Semi Annual Report
Sweepstakes Terminal Device Monthly Report
The Bureau of Criminal Investigations can assist with investigations on these matters and can be reached at 800 BCI OHIO. Additional questions can be directed to online complaint