Thursday August 1, 2013 : OHIO LOWERS THE BOOM ON INTERNET CAFÉ GAMBLING
Multi-agency investigation spans seven Ohio counties.
Police and other state agencies in Ohio targeted internet cafes in seven state counties Thursday, equipped with search warrants in a renewed drive against illegal internet café gambling.
The Associated Press news agency reports that a state task force has been investigating allegations of Ohio gambling law violations and accusations of illegal bingo and money laundering.
The visits on Thursday were designed to obtain documentary and other evidence, official spokesmen said.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Union County authorities said the nearly year-long investigation began with one local Internet cafe and a skill game establishment, but then grew as it became obvious this same activity was occurring at multiple businesses across several jurisdictions.
Marysville Police Chief Floyd Golden said in a statement that search warrants were served at several sweepstakes or Internet cafe locations, a bank, a motel and a home. Sites searched were in Union, Shelby, Hardin, Butler, Montgomery, Franklin and Logan counties.
Cities where warrants were executed included Dublin, Miamisburg, Marysville, Bellefontaine, Sydney, Middletown and Kenton.
Union County authorities have been leading the investigation and say they expect to present multiple cases to a county grand jury at the end of the investigation.
DeWine noted that officials are in only the early stages of what could be a long investigation.
"While it is too early in the investigation to go into specifics, we do believe the alleged criminal activity at these locations goes beyond illegal gambling," DeWine said in a statement.
Associated Press notes that opponents of an Ohio law that strictly limits casino games offered by Internet cafes have pushed to have the law repealed in favour of a new law regulating the industry and shutting down what they have said are rogue sweepstakes parlour operators.
More than 620 Internet cafes operate in Ohio, representing competition to legalized casinos and charity games.