Ohio law enforcement has placed an emphasis in recent years on cracking down on illegal gambling operations in the state. Since Ohio voters approved regulated land-based casinos in the state, law enforcement agencies have been busy weeding out the illegal operations.
This week, one of the largest illegal gambling raids in the history of the state took place. The raid spanned seven counties, and over 10 businesses. Included in the raid were local businesses, Internet cafes, and one home. The investigation into the illegal gambling has been ongoing for 10 months.
It appears that the raid this week was used to aid authorities in the investigation that began back in September in Union City. As the investigation moved forward, other counties, including Hardin, Logan, Butler, and Shelby became involved. While the scope of the case involves several counties, it is believed that some of the operations were run by the same owners.
No arrests were made in the case as of Thursday evening. Authorities expected to make arrests after examining the evidence collected at the residence and the businesses.
Internet cafes have become popular in the US, with business owners selling air time on phone cards and then allowing customers to use the air time to play slot-like games on computers in the cafes. Prizes are often given out to winners of the games.
Ohio law, as is the case in many states, is vague when it comes to Internet cafes. Several courts have ruled differently on cases involving the cafes. Toledo and Cleveland are two cities that have been awarded casinos in recent years, and courts in these cities have offered opposing rulings regarding similar cafe cases.
In addition to the Toledo and Cleveland casinos, regulated gaming facilities have opened in Cincinnati and Columbus. Officials believe that the regulated casinos serve as a safer place for gamblers due to the strict regulations that are in place. The Internet cafes are unregulated by the state gaming commission.