SPRINGFIELD — The Ohio Casino Control Commission served search warrants Tuesday in connection with a suspected illegal casino operation in Springfield.
Roc-In Skill Games, 1214 N. Bechtle Ave., was raided and gaming machines, cash and documents were seized during the operation, according to a news release.
Authorities also raided Roc-In-Skill owner James Haning’s residence in Columbus.
No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing. The business was closed by Tuesday afternoon.
It advertises “skill-based games” on its windows. But an anonymous tip told agents the games at Roc-In-Skill actually illegally paid out cash.
Undercover agents then played on two of the machines for months and won money, said Matthew Schuler, executive director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission.
“It’s a simple equation here … If you pay out cash, the law says you are a slot machine,” he said.
True “skill games” that are legal are like Ski-ball or most arcade games, Schuler said. Businesses are only supposed to award merchandise valued at no more than $10.
“You may remember some of these places were Internet cafes a couple of years ago,” he said. “And then the law changed, which shut those down.”
But Schuler said many of the businesses re-branded themselves and continued operating as illegal casinos.
For years there was no one regulatory body that had jurisdiction to enforce the laws, which he said is why some have illegal operations have been able to run for so long.
“Oftentimes local jurisdictions don’t have the expertise when it comes to these games, or frankly, the resources to be able to tackle it,” he said.