Ohio follows in the footsteps of the Sunshine State by cracking down on the Internet Cafes, that Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine calls ‘mini-casinos.’
Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine have a lot in common when it comes to their stance on the operation of Internet Cafes in their respective states. Both politicians have their eyes wide open, and as far as they can see, the Internet cafes are nothing more than illegal gambling operations.
It seems that the discovery of the illegal gambling ring, hiding behind the $300 million Allied Veterans scam, in Florida, has set off a tsunami of activity relating to the tolerance of burgeoning Internet Cafes in the states of the U.S. Earlier this week we reported on the Floridian Smackdown laid across the chests of the Internet cafes trying to make a buck, or a million, in the Sunshine state, after Gov. Scott outraged the Internet Cafe business owners by approving the new Internet Cafe Bill; a move that resulted in Internet Cafe’s closing their doors for the final time.
Back in January 2012, Ohio Attorney General DeWine told NBC4 news: “These folks who run these shops. We don’t know who they are, where the money is going or how much there is. The consumer has no clue what the legal pay outs are because there is no regulation at all.” Before continuing, “Strict regulation is a better approach than an outright ban because it will have a better chance of withstanding a court challenge.”
It seems DeWine has gotten tired of playing the waiting game and to hell with the court challenge. A bill to ban the 800 Internet Cafes, that line the streets of Ohio, has passed the Ohio House but sits gathering dust in the Senate. There is a moratorium that prevents new Internet Cafe’s for sprouting up anew, but that ends this summer, so DeWine pulled his finger out and organized an audience with law enforcement at the Columbus Police Training Academy to introduce them to the newly created Internet Gaming Advisory Unit; a unit designed to help law enforcement go after these ‘criminals’.
“The people who run these Internet Cafes, and their lawyers, think we are all stupid; I think, they think, we’re just idiots,” DeWine told his audience of law enforcement officials.
No sooner had the meeting ended, six cafes in Cleveland Euclid, and Westlake, received gentle knocks on the door that resulted in their video terminals being seized and cash confiscated. The owners are now facing charges of money laundering, conspiracy to engage in corrupt activity and possession of criminal tools amongst other things. The New Jersey software provider VS2 Worldwide Communications are also in hot water.
A grand jury in Cleveland has since indicted 11 people and eight companies that prosecutors say were involved in illegal gambling activity in Internet Cafes. With over 740 more to go, Ohio law enforcement are going to be a busy bunch of buees