Gov. John Kasich signed a bill this week that would regulate Internet cafes by limiting payouts from sweepstake terminals.
House Bill 7, which was introduced in January, would affect Internet cafes sometimes referred as sweepstakes cafes by not allowing sweepstake terminal devices to pay out cash while limiting payouts to prizes that equal $10 or less, said Dan Tierney of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office.
"I am pleased that House Bill 7 has been signed into law by Gov. John Kasich," DeWine stated in a press release. "The new law will provide Ohio law enforcement much needed clarity between legitimate sweepstakes and the illegal gambling which has been taking place at Internet cafes across Ohio."
Tiffin City Council started regulating the Internet cafes in town in January, and the city has received $17,200 in fees that are paid annually, Finance Director Gwynn Reinhart said.
"Obviously it's going to be a decrease in revenue that's the first thing that jumps out at me," Mayor Aaron Montz said. "We have not had any problems at (Tiffin's Internet cafes). People are going there, going out just to have some fun, spending a few bucks and getting some free snacks out of it.
"We have not noticed any organized crime. We have not had any kind of things that they say they're seeing in bigger cities," Montz said. "Personally, I think it's just a ploy by the large casinos to try and put the little guy out of business to make sure all that money is going to the casinos, since their revenues has not been yet what they expected."
Marvin Dabish, owner, Player's Club Internet Cafe in Tiffin
Law Director Brent Howard said it is possible the bill will trump the local ordinance.
DeWine's office is to put together rules to regulate the cafes, and the city has given its ordinance to the office for an example of legislation, Howard said.
"AG's office will have to come up with rules that are consistent with the law to regulate the cafes," he said.
The bill is to go into effect in early September, but there could be a referendum to overturn the bill, he said.
"It's unconstitutional," said Marvin Dabish, owner of the Player's Club Internet Cafe in Tiffin and Fremont.