CANTON — City Council will consider legislation that would place a 180-day moratorium on any new Internet sweepstakes cafes and skill game arcades in the city.

Councilmen Joe Cole, D-at large, and Edmond Mack, D-8, have requested the drafting of the legislation.

The moratorium would allow the Ohio General Assembly to enact House Bill 195, comprehensive legislation that regulates new Internet sweepstakes cafes and skill game arcades.

If the legislature fails to take action, the moratorium would allow City Council time to evaluate its own legislation to regulate Internet sweepstakes cafes and skill game arcades consistent with that enacted by other local political subdivisions, according to a letter from Mack and Cole to Martuccio.

Cole and Mack have researched the subject, creating a preliminary legislative draft based on regulations enacted by some other Ohio cities.

The machines and the parlors that carry them are common in the Canton and Akron areas.

“We feel that (the cafes and arcades are) not reflective of what we want in our community,” Cole said Friday. “These prey on individuals (who are) in many respects the weakest among us.”

Cole said he’s received public complaints about the cafes and arcades.

The legislation is a “focus on creating the type of environment that you would like to raise your family in,” he added.

Lisa Peterson Hackley, a spokeswoman for the Ohio attorney general’s office, said that skill-based amusement machine operators and distributors and sweepstakes terminal device operators and distributors are unregulated and unlicensed by the state.

Some communities have established regulations for the machines and parlors, including Summit County’s charter government.

PROPOSED BILL

Based on a review by the attorney general’s regional staff, there are roughly 280 Internet cafes in Ohio. Startup costs for Internet cafes were estimated at $100,000, according to the review. Those costs likely could be recouped within weeks of opening, according to a memorandum issued by the attorney general’s office in late March.

Under proposed House Bill 195, the Ohio Casino Control Commission would license skill-based amusement machine operators and distributors and sweepstakes terminal device operators and distributors.

The legislation also would permit a legislative authority of a municipal corporation or an unincorporated area of a township to adopt an ordinance or resolution to prohibit the operation of sweepstakes terminal devices.

The commission also would limit the number of sweepstakes terminal device operator licenses in each county based on population.

Also, if the state legislation is passed, a skill-based amusement machine, unchanged by the bill, would mean a mechanical, video, digital or electronic device that rewards the player or players, if at all, only with merchandise prizes or with redeemable vouchers for merchandise prizes.

The proposal also would establish criminal penalties for violating the licensing requirements. The machines also would be inspected.


City Council will consider legislation that would place a 180-day moratorium on any new Internet sweepstakes cafes and skill game arcades in the city.

Councilmen Joe Cole, D-at large, and Edmond Mack, D-8, have requested the drafting of the legislation.

The moratorium would allow the Ohio General Assembly to enact House Bill 195, comprehensive legislation that regulates new Internet sweepstakes cafes and skill game arcades.

If the legislature fails to take action, the moratorium would allow City Council time to evaluate its own legislation to regulate Internet sweepstakes cafes and skill game arcades consistent with that enacted by other local political subdivisions, according to a letter from Mack and Cole to Martuccio.

Cole and Mack have researched the subject, creating a preliminary legislative draft based on regulations enacted by some other Ohio cities.

The machines and the parlors that carry them are common in the Canton and Akron areas.

“We feel that (the cafes and arcades are) not reflective of what we want in our community,” Cole said Friday. “These prey on individuals (who are) in many respects the weakest among us.”

Cole said he’s received public complaints about the cafes and arcades.

The legislation is a “focus on creating the type of environment that you would like to raise your family in,” he added.

Lisa Peterson Hackley, a spokeswoman for the Ohio attorney general’s office, said that skill-based amusement machine operators and distributors and sweepstakes terminal device operators and distributors are unregulated and unlicensed by the state.

Some communities have established regulations for the machines and parlors, including Summit County’s charter government.

PROPOSED BILL

Based on a review by the attorney general’s regional staff, there are roughly 280 Internet cafes in Ohio. Startup costs for Internet cafes were estimated at $100,000, according to the review. Those costs likely could be recouped within weeks of opening, according to a memorandum issued by the attorney general’s office in late March.

Under proposed House Bill 195, the Ohio Casino Control Commission would license skill-based amusement machine operators and distributors and sweepstakes terminal device operators and distributors.

The legislation also would permit a legislative authority of a municipal corporation or an unincorporated area of a township to adopt an ordinance or resolution to prohibit the operation of sweepstakes terminal devices.

The commission also would limit the number of sweepstakes terminal device operator licenses in each county based on population.

Also, if the state legislation is passed, a skill-based amusement machine, unchanged by the bill, would mean a mechanical, video, digital or electronic device that rewards the player or players, if at all, only with merchandise prizes or with redeemable vouchers for merchandise prizes.

The proposal also would establish criminal penalties for violating the licensing requirements. The machines also would be inspected.


http://www.cantonrep.com/newsnow/x59...me-legislation