Electronic Raffle Machines

VFW posts and fraternal organizations will be allowed to continue operating electronic raffle machines, at least for the next several months. After HB 325, which would allow charitable video bingo games at veteran and fraternal organizations failed to pass before the legislature adjourned for the year, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine ordered e-raffle games shut down, claiming they were a form of illegal gambling.

The Ohio Veteran and Fraternal Charitable Coalition, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion filed a lawsuit this week against the attorney general’s office and the Ohio Department of Liquor Control, claiming that the electronic raffle machines were indeed legal and that they should not be subject to any civil, criminal, or administrative sanctions. The coalition retained Andrew Douglas, an attorney and former justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, as its counsel. The coalition claimed it was losing $15,000 a day from the shutdown of the electronic raffle machines.

As part of the lawsuit, Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Stephen McIntosh granted a temporary restraining order allowing the electronic raffle machines to be turned back on until the lawsuit is resolved, which will probably not occur before June.

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