Ohio Attorney General gets green light for sweepstakes crackdown
Governor John Kasich has signed an executive order authorizing the Ohio Attorney General to enforce new rules governing establishments known by various names like sweepstakes parlors
The emergency order suspends rules that may otherwise delay implementation of legislation adopted by the state in May.
The legislation gives the Attorney General’s Office regulatory authority over sweepstakes terminal devices used by internet sweepstakes cafes. Cafes are required to obtain a certificate of registration from the Attorney General’s Office and file monthly reports. The Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) also now will have explicit authority to investigate gambling law violations alleged to occur at internet sweepstakes cafes.
The updated law imposes a $10 limit on the value of prizes. The new law also prohibits prizes in the form of cash, gift cards, lottery tickets, bingo, instant bingo, alcohol, tobacco, firearms, or vouchers for any such items.
Over the years, cafes have been opening in empty buildings and vacant storefronts throughout the Valley and the rest of Ohio.
The new law draws a distinction between the casino-style games played at internet sweepstakes cafes and traditional promotional sweepstakes offered by retailers. Retailers who offer promotional sweepstakes via a terminal device will have certain restrictions and registration to ensure compliance with Ohio law.
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