Consider ‘Internet Cafe’ Gambling

It appears Ohio legislators will not have to deal with voter nullification of a law enacted earlier this year cracking down on so-called “Internet cafes.” Lawmakers still should take another look at the issue.

Hundreds of Internet cafes throughout the state are thinly disguised gambling venues. The new state law bans them from offering cash payouts and limits the value of any prize to $10. It would have the effect of putting most, if not all of them, out of business.

Opponents of the law mounted a petition drive to hold a referendum on it on the November 2014 election ballot. But as of last week, it appeared not enough signatures had been collected to authorize a vote.

But – tightly regulated and required to pay a share of the “take” to the state – Internet cafes may have a future as part of Ohio’s legalized gambling network. As we have asked previously, why should small gambling outlets not be allowed to compete against racetracks and casinos. State legislators should consider the matter.