Ohio Old Sweepstakes Games Morph into Skill Games

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certified compliant games Texas 750x75KERN COUNTY – As authorities shut down the internet sweepstakes industry in the county, patrons turned to online internet cafes.

“It’s all over the place that you can do online gaming,” told Phillip Walker of the Internet Cafe Association of California.
According to Walker, those websites advertised in Bakersfield Craigslist offered internet café style gaming paid through Western Union.

Need Ohio Skill Games 300x300“You can just go to those websites, obtain an ID, log on to the accounts and it opens up a format for you to do the gaming,” Walker stated.

Though it was unclear yet if the law covered online fantasy leagues and Indian gaming sites, the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned the public that cyber casinos and online betting were in violation of the law.

“It’s not quite clear yet as to the laws with the internet gaming because there’s so much of a variety. Some of them are games of skill and some are games of chance,” expressed Walker.

Back in December, the California Bureau of Gambling Control issued a memorandum claiming sweepstakes games as illegal under state laws.

In order to wipe out internet café operation across the state, California Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield authored the Assembly Bill 1439.

“These Internet sweepstakes are thinly veiled gambling operations that establish themselves in an economically depressed area, accrue hundreds of thousands of dollars through online gambling and close when apprehended by law enforcement. Often, these illegal gambling cafés will then re-open in a new location, threatening to negatively impact another neighborhood in the community. Recently, there has been a growing proliferation of these gaming operations throughout the state,” AB 1439 stated.

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Ohio Sweepstake Cafe Return to Life with Different Games Same Location

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Ohio Get Converted Now 750x75FAIRFIELD – As an interim urgency ordinance authored by Assemblyman Jim Frazier prohibiting gambling at internet cafes will end on September 3, another internet café bill reached the Senate last week.

Ohio Skill Games 350x350“This bill would apply the prohibition described above to unfair acts or practices undertaken by, or omissions of, a person in the operation of a sweepstakes,” the bill read.

In addition, it also prohibit using or offering to use any method intended to be used by a person interacting with an electronic video monitor to simulate gambling or play gambling-themed games in a business establishment that directly or indirectly implements the predetermination of sweepstakes cash, cash-equivalent prizes, or other prizes of value, or otherwise connects a sweepstakes player or participant with sweepstakes cash, cash-equivalent prizes, or other prizes of value. By creating new crimes, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

According to a Fairfield city staff report, it Frazier’s new bill will not be adopted, the city will re-evaluate its approach on internet cafes.

Last year, the Department of Justice issued a statement regarding internet cafes using magnetized swipe card in exchange of gambling entries as a violation to the state’s gambling statute.

Vacaville’s Lt. John Carli told internet cafes like Talk n Win might fall within the loopholes of the gambling statute because business operators call it sweepstakes which they equate to Coca-Cola’s scratch and win. The same business model used to promote McDonalds.

Like Fairfield, the city intended to study all options available to manage those businesses.

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Rebranded Games, Sweepstakes Owners Try a Different Approach

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certified compliant games Texas 750x75GAINESVILLE – Internet cafes will soon be banned permanently in the city after the Gainesville City Commission approved the proposed internet café ban during the preliminary hearing last week.

Earlier this year, the city passed a six-month moratorium on new internet cafes. Later, the moratorium was extended until September 18.

Ohio Skill Games 350x350Based on the proposed city ordinance that will permanently ban the sweepstakes industry, Gainesville’s land development code will be amended in order to prohibit simulated gambling establishments from operating in the city.

Senior Planner Andrew Persons told that as soon as the ordinance receives a second and final approval from the City Commission, the ban would soon be banned.

In 2011, there were about two dozens of internet sweepstakes parlor around the city. These establishments offered internet time with sweepstakes entries that could win cash prizes from simulated slots on computers. The sweepstakes industry, however, drew scrutiny during the probe Allied Veterans of the World scam.

“This zoning change will basically eliminate the need for an investigation,” said Persons referring to illegal gambling.

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First Legal Test Cleared by Ohio Internet Cafe Replacement

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Skill Game ConversionCOLUMBUS – Internet sweepstakes operating like slot machines which were put out in business resurfaced in Ohio with compliant skill games.

“At the end of the day, illegal gambling is very lucrative. It’s apparent that there are individuals in this state who are not willing to give up that illegal income easily,” said Matt Schuler, executive director of the Ohio Casino Control Commission.

Ohio Skill Game Option 350x350Schuler further said that the sweepstakes industry rebranded as skill-game establishments reward winners with $10 gasoline card and other gift cards. He mentioned skill-games parlors at Akron suburbs of Norton and Barbeton.

Skill games like Tic Tac Fruit and BlackJack 21 hit mainstream during the early 2000s. It became popular in the state and soon spread in bars and storefronts.

According to Attorney General Mike DeWine spokeswoman Lisa Hackley, the Attorney General’s Office received several complaints about internet sweepstakes cafes reopening as skill games.

“We are aware of the situation but cannot comment on any potential investigations or enforcement actions,” Hackley stated.

 

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Old Internet Cafes Return with New Games

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Ohio Conversion 750x150CHARLOTTE – When internet sweepstakes operators learned about the latest software which made games legal, sweepstakes parlors sprang again in North Carolina.

“What we’re told is, as long as it’s in compliance with pre-reveal, it doesn’t violate the law,” said Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Kevin Southern

In Whiteville, a Dublin elected official arrested for illegal operation of video gaming café told pre-reveal video machines were legal under the state’s law.

Ohio Skill Game Option 350x350According to Dublin Councilman Jeffrey Scott Smith who was arrested and charged with two counts of misdemeanor for operating video gaming machines at Gold Rush Internet Café, the machines were legal under the North Carolina law because those who purchased internet time were already notified of the winnings before the game.

“Those same games are running in over 40 counties in the state of North Carolina. There are other district attorneys and sheriff’s departments that agree that our software is compliant,” told Smith.

In Laurinburg, District Attorney Kristy Newton declared the joint task force called the Hoke and Scotland County Joint Gaming Task Force to maintain the illegality of possessing, operating, or playing internet sweepstakes machines in North Carolina. The task force sent out orders or forced closure to all sweepstakes establishments in the area.

The cease and desist order with a deadline to comply replicates the measure law enforcement used after a Supreme Court in 2013 banned sweepstakes in the state and the injunction against enforcement was lifted.

Yet, the state law left a loophole for certain types of gaming software.

Lauriburg City Attorney Bill Floyd contested, “the legislature has left a statute in place that, despite whatever anybody says or you hear, is unclear as to its applicability to some of the software that’s being used in these establishments.”

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Ohio Introduces New Compliance to Replace Now Banned Sweepstakes Games

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certified compliant games Texas 750x75AURORA – An internet parlor tucked in a nondescript strip mall faced an uncertain future as Rep. Polly Lawrence, Rep. Polly Lawrence, R-Roxborough Park, called cybercafés illegal gambling.

Lawrence told that though the cybercafés did not look or sound like casinos, these were essentially illegal gambling that feed on those least able to afford it, targeting seniors and low-income patrons.

Need Ohio Skill Games 300x300According to bill sponsored by Lawrence, any establishments in Colorado equipped with simulated with a gambling device used to award prizes to customers could be driven out of business.

“Their computers are set up to work exactly like slot machines. But there are none of the background checks or requirements that casinos have in place — like having to have a certain amount paid out,” Lawrence said.

Currently, the state only allows gambling in three communities namely Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek.

“To me, these businesses are a violation of the Constitution and what the people voted on,” told Lawrence, whose district covers Cripple Creek.

However, during the2014 legislative session, both the House of Representatives and Senate in Colorado adjourned with HB1392 still pending on the table. The House already approved the bill and it’s up for the Senate to sign it to a law.

Once the Senate approve HB1392, the state of would be the fourth in line next to Florida, Mississippi and Ohio banning internet sweepstakes cafes which the Colorado Attorney General’s office claimed as illegal gambling storefronts.

In their defense, sweepstakes owners and operators argue their businesses should not be tagged as illegal gambling because they are simply selling internet time to customers with internet cards.

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Old Sweepstakes Games in Ohio Morph into New Games

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Ohio Sweepstakes Game Conversion 750x75BOSTON – Groups on both side of the casino repeal measure set by the Supreme Judicial Court’s on the November ballot started campaigns this week.

In June, the SJC decided to put the fate of the 2011 expanded gambling law which allowed three regional resort casinos and one slot parlor on the November ballot.

“We conclude that the Legislature and, through initiative, the voters of Massachusetts may choose to abolish casino and slot parlor gambling and pari-mutuel wagering on simulcast greyhound racing, and doing so would not constitute a taking of property without compensation,” told Justice Ralph D. Gants.

Ohio Skill Game Option 350x350A pro-casino group funded by gambling giants MGM Resorts International, MGM Resorts International, Mohegan Sun and Penn National Gaming called Committee to Protect Massachusetts Jobs told they expect to launch their extensive campaign after three weeks of planning.

Between now and Election Day of November 4, we will be engaging voters across the Commonwealth about the benefits that gaming will bring to Massachusetts,” said Wooten Johnson, Campaign Manager for Vote No on Question 3.

According to Johnson, their campaign will create 10,000 new jobs and 6,500 construction jobs; ensure that the communities that already voted to host a casino can get the jobs, business, and revenue they voted for; and  put an end to shipping the residents’ hard-earned money and tax dollars out of state to Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Maine.

On the other hand, Stephen Eiseleof the Repeal the Casino Deal, a statewide organization opposing casino and slots said they will reach out to undecided voters who have not yet voted on the local casino plans.

Eisele also mentioned two dozen volunteers canvassed in the communities of Winthrop, Bourne, Lexington, East Longmeadow and Ludlow while another dozen volunteers engaged in phone banking in Springfield and East Boston.

“In ruling to allow the referendum, the justices have upheld the standards of the initiative petition law, a law that defines the very core of American democracy, the citizens’ right to vote on matters of substantial importance to the entire population,” said Repeal the Casino Deal attorney Thomas O. Bean.

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