Internet Cafes Cause Problems For Ohio and New Jersey

In Ohio internet cafes have attracted the attention of regulators and law enforcement. Some cafe owners say the state’s slow crawl to regulate the industry has turned into a rush to kill it entirely in the state. Owners say that the hundreds of internet cafes that have sprung up around the state are reputable businesses that sell internet and phone time. In addition the cafes give patrons chances to win money in contests with a fixed number of winners. Owners say their promotions are no different than those offered by McDonald’s.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says the cafes computers function like slot machines and are offering illegal games of chance. Cuyahoga County has filed criminal charges against a New Jersey software developer, VS2 Worldwide Communications, and companies and individual that distributes and markets their products. A bill in the Ohio House of Representatives would kill the storefront businesses by limiting the size of prizes to $10 making them less attractive to players. The bill would also prohibit the cafes from awarding cash prizes. The bill was approved by the House in December but is stalled in the senate.

DeWine said he has not been pressured by casino owners to shot down the internet cafes. There are about 800 cafes in the state and DeWine says it is all about regulation and following the money. DeWine told reporters “You go to one of these internet cafes and you have no clue what`s being paid out.  We also don`t know who`s running them- their name. If the person has a criminal record, their employees could have records. Some of the money we do know is going overseas and it’s a perfect opportunity for extensive money laundering.”

In New Jersey internet cafes were a source of concern for Governor Christie. When Christie vetoed an internet gambling bill in 2011 he said one of his concerns was that internet cafes may pop up around the state. Christie said that internet cafes would allow businesses to profit from internet gambling despite the fact that all gambling in New Jersey is limited to Atlantic City. One man in Passaic County has already been prosecuted for running two internet cafes. Chester Ward pled guilty to two counts of maintaining a gambling resort in Morris County. Ward admitted that he owned two Connections Internet Cafe” businesses. This is an issue that must be addressed before Christie will sign any internet gambling legislation. Fortunately it’s an easy fix.

In Ohio internet cafes have attracted the attention of regulators and law enforcement. Some cafe owners say the state’s slow crawl to regulate the industry has turned into a rush to kill it entirely in the state. Owners say that the hundreds of internet cafes that have sprung up around the state are reputable businesses that sell internet and phone time. In addition the cafes give patrons chances to win money in contests with a fixed number of winners. Owners say their promotions are no different than those offered by McDonald’s.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says the cafes computers function like slot machines and are offering illegal games of chance. Cuyahoga County has filed criminal charges against a New Jersey software developer, VS2 Worldwide Communications, and companies and individual that distributes and markets their products. A bill in the Ohio House of Representatives would kill the storefront businesses by limiting the size of prizes to $10 making them less attractive to players. The bill would also prohibit the cafes from awarding cash prizes. The bill was approved by the House in December but is stalled in the senate.

DeWine said he has not been pressured by casino owners to shot down the internet cafes. There are about 800 cafes in the state and DeWine says it is all about regulation and following the money. DeWine told reporters “You go to one of these internet cafes and you have no clue what`s being paid out.  We also don`t know who`s running them- their name. If the person has a criminal record, their employees could have records. Some of the money we do know is going overseas and it’s a perfect opportunity for extensive money laundering.”

In New Jersey internet cafes were a source of concern for Governor Christie. When Christie vetoed an internet gambling bill in 2011 he said one of his concerns was that internet cafes may pop up around the state. Christie said that internet cafes would allow businesses to profit from internet gambling despite the fact that all gambling in New Jersey is limited to Atlantic City. One man in Passaic County has already been prosecuted for running two internet cafes. Chester Ward pled guilty to two counts of maintaining a gambling resort in Morris County. Ward admitted that he owned two Connections Internet Cafe” businesses. This is an issue that must be addressed before Christie will sign any internet gambling legislation. Fortunately it’s an easy fix.

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