Ohio Senate panel passes Internet cafe moratorium

Internet-Cafe

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio Senate panel has approved a bill to immediately halt the expansion of Internet cafes.

The measure that cleared the Senate’s government oversight committee on Tuesday would extend a current moratorium on the opening of new sweepstakes gambling operations until June 2014. It would require operators of current facilities to file more thorough affidavits with the state, or they could face a fine.

A full Senate vote could come Wednesday.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine calls the cafes illegal gambling operations. He filed lawsuits Tuesday against three facilities that failed to file affidavits after the statewide moratorium went into effect in 2012.

The industry calls them legal. Patrons buy cards for phone and Internet time with chances to play computer games that operate like slot machines with cash prizes.

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