Sweepstake terminal cafes, or internet cafes, have become more popular in Ohio in recent months, and are unregulated in Tiffin.
At a finance committee meeting Monday night, Mayor Aaron Montz, Law Director Brent Howard, Director of Finance Gwynn Reinhart and members of City Council shaped an ordinance that would regulate sweepstake terminal cafes in the city.
Tiffin currently has two sweepstake terminal cafes. Leisure Time Sweepstakes, located next to Sears, Westgate Barbers and Happy Garden, opened about five months ago. And The Player's Club is located in the Tiffin Mall.
Mark Hayes, chair of the finance committee, and other council members visited Leisure Time Sweepstakes about five weeks ago.
"We didn't want to pass any legislation without ever visiting the place," Hayes said.
He said the employee greeted them politely and was happy to show them around and explain what the business provided people.
The cafes welcome inspection and regulation because it keeps out the businesses that do not operate legally, Montz said at the meeting.
Leisure Time does not have a certificate of occupancy, which is a cause of concern for the council, Hayes said.
"This ordinance would help control that, so it doesn't happen again," he said. "We're not going to issue a license until they have (a certificate of occupancy). That's one of the things that (the ordinance) would help control."
Hayes said the cafes could help the city financially because they are to be required to pay monthly and annual fees.
Danielle Botton, who has worked as a cashier at Leisure Time since the business opened, said the cafe is also beneficial to the people of Tiffin because it offers a form of entertainment.
"We get a lot of people that come through that door, and this is what they love to do" she said. "People love to do this in their spare time, so it definitely benefits the city."
The legislation is based on ordinances from Fremont, Toledo, Rossford, Lorain and Brookpark, which all have Internet cafes. The ordinance is to be voted on at an upcoming council meeting.
"This is all local regulation," Howard said. "This is not gambling; this is a shade different, that's why you're able to regulate this locally."
The ordinance currently states that the annual license fee is to be $4,000, and the monthly per terminal fee is to be $25.
Under the legislation, the minimum age to enter a cafe would be 18 years old and the cafes cannot be within 500 feet of a school, public library or playground.