COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Thursday that he is seeking to enact legislation that would create oversight of gambling that happens at Internet cafes and similar establishments.
DeWine is concerned with the number of electronic games resembling slot machines that are popping up in the state. These machines, he said, can mislead players and cause confusion for law enforcement.
"Internet cafes and sweepstakes that are skirting the law are growing in many of our communities," DeWine said. "By establishing oversight of these previously unregulated games, law enforcement, consumers, and charities can all operate in a more fair environment."
DeWine's proposal is designed to clarify the legality of electronic games and to ensure that those who play the skill-based games or participate in sweepstakes at Internet cafes know that the contests are not rigged.
The proposal calls for the owner and operator of any skill-based amusement machine or sweepstakes machine to obtain a license issued by the Casino Control Commission, undergo a pre-play certification process and have the machines tested for fairness by an outside party.
The license would need to be displayed at the establishment and the certification would be paid for by the operator or manufacturer of the machine.
"As attorney general, I am working to protect Ohio families and ensure that our state doesn't turn into the 'Wild, Wild West'' with unregulated operators taking advantage of Ohioans," DeWine said. "This new system will provide transparency and accountability in an industry that currently reaps millions of dollars in profits."
State Representatives Nan Baker and Marlene Anielski will sponsor the proposed legislation.
A newly created commission would oversee and enforce the regulations enacted for such electronic games.
"I am pleased to have a partner in the Ohio Casino Control Commission who can assist in overseeing electronic skill and sweepstakes machines in Ohio," DeWine said.