By a 27-6 vote, the Ohio Senate passed HB 7, which effectively bans Internet cafes by prohibiting cash payouts and capping prize payouts at $10. Governor Kasich signed the bill into law on June 4. There was no emergency clause so the law will take effect in 90 days. That 90 day window provides supporters of Internet cafes an opportunity to get the law overturned. If supporters can gather enough signatures for a referendum, the law goes on hold until next year’s general election, where voters would determine the final fate of Internet cafes.
Meanwhile, the Ohio House passed SB 115 and Governor Kasich signed it into law last week. SB 115 extends the moratorium on new sweepstakes cafes through June 30, 2014. SB 115 did include an emergency clause so the law is now in effect.
SB 115 also implemented tougher registration requirements for existing cafes. Internet café owners must now file new affidavits with the Ohio attorney general’s office. Among the requirements: owners must provide the attorney general’s office with the names of the owners, employees and vendors. They must also disclose any felony or gambling-related convictions. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has given Internet café owners until June 27 to comply.