Attorney General wants regulations for Internet cafes

The Ohio Attorney General is asking, once again, for a crackdown on Internet cafes.

Dewine is pushing lawmakers to enact more regulations for the cafes which offer games that function like slot machines with cash prizes.

The call comes amid news that there are now more than 600 so-called cafes in the state. That's more than twice the number previously thought.

Dewine says the cafes could be generating hundreds of millions of dollars and there's no way to track where that money goes.

Supporters say the businesses are legal and instead of collecting winnings they're just selling pre-paid phone cards or Internet time.

However, even loyal customers of Internet cafes like Jewel Gentry say the industry may need some oversight. Gentry says "Its supposed to be entertainment and something to enhance their lives, not rob them."

Gentry says some cafes promise more payouts than they deliver and the games can be habit forming. She says "The average person can come in and play with just the gas money going to a casino, but it doesn't stop there. You can get into bad shape there, you know what I'm saying, seniors are on limited income, so all that needs to be considered."

Gentry says what needs to be considered by the general assembly is making sure these businesses deliver the payoffs they offer. She says "I would not say that the attorney general needs to stop it because it's a community outlet, but by all means with anything you do you need some regulation. What ever you're advertising, make it real."

Attorney general Mike Dewine wants some state laws governing Internet cafes. During an interview last month Dewine said he was concerned about the industry's lack of oversight. "What we're seeing across the state of Ohio is just a huge problem. This is totally unregulated."

FOX19 attempted to talk to the owners of the Hook Up in Roselawn, but our reporter was told that they do not do interviews or make comments to the media.

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