Sunday April 21, 2013 : 11 INDICTED IN OHIO PURGE OF INTERNET GAMBLING CAFES (Update)
"if you believe you can operate a gambling house in Ohio simply by calling it a ‘sweepstakes,' you are sorely mistaken," says state AG.
Last week’s Ohio enforcement raids on six internet cafes allegedly providing illegal online gambling through a sweepstakes system has resulted in the indictment of 11 individuals and eight companies, the state Attorney General's office reports.
And there could be more in the future, according to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who said of the indictments: "The latest indictments show that if you believe you can operate a gambling house in Ohio simply by calling it a ‘sweepstakes,' you are sorely mistaken."
The indictments were framed by a Cuyahoga County grand jury, and came in the wake of raids the previous day at six Internet cafes in Cleveland and the suburbs of Euclid and Westlake. Charges include money laundering, conspiracy to engage in corrupt activity, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and possession of criminal tools.
The raids were part of a new state-wide prosecution drive as state legislators work on more stringent laws.
The Ohio House of Representatives approved a bill late last year intended to regulate the cafes, but it failed to gain traction in the Senate. The House passed a new proposal in March this year that is currently pending in a Senate committee.
Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty claims that several of the defendants and companies named in the indictment are part of a multi-state Internet gambling syndicate operating through a computer server in New Jersey. Video terminals, documentary evidence and cash were seized in the raids.
Supporting the state AG's view, McGinty said no illegal internet gambling operation is safe from the search and seizure of its equipment and illicit profits, nor are operators safe from arrest.