COLUMBUS, OH -- Persons gathering signatures to put a repeal of Ohio's Internet sweepstakes ban on the ballot claim they're being harassed by "corporate casino interests," according to the Ohio Watchdog.org.
Watchdog.org, a new media journalism nonprofit, noted that the Committee to Protect Ohio Jobs recently issued a press release claiming that police reports were filed in Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo "because people hired by the corporate casino interests to oppose the referendum are physically blocking Ohioans who want to sign and threatening signature gatherers."
In June, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed H.B. 7, which aims to shut down Internet cafés by setting a limit of no more than a $10 cash payout on a sweepstakes machine. The cafés, or sweepstakes parlors, usually sell phone cards or Internet time while offering customers opportunities to win cash prizes on games that resemble slot machines. The ban goes into effect on Sept. 4.
Proponents of the ban, including Attorney General Mike DeWine, said illegal gambling and other illegal activities were being conducted in sweepstakes establishments.
Operators of Internet cafés promptly announced a referendum effort to repeal H.B. 7. The referendum campaign would mean a stay on the implementation of the ban until voters decide the issue on the November 2014 ballot.