COLUMBUS, OH -- David George of Bell Music Co. (Akron) told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that a bill to regulate and license sweepstakes videogame operations would hurt the bar and tavern industry by forbidding alcohol sales and service in sweeps locations. | SEE STORY
The bill, SB 317, would also prevent amusement operators from installing the popular devices in bars and taverns, along with bowling centers with lounges and restaurants that serve adult beverages.
George is first vice-president of the Ohio Coin Machine Association and heads the Fair Gaming Coalition of Ohio.
Spending in bars, taverns and bowling centers is expected to plummet as much as 40% after casinos and racinos begin operation in Ohio later this year, George told the newspaper.
Ohio public officials estimate that nearly 300 sweepstakes venues are operating statewide. In March, state Attorney General Mike DeWine notified his field offices that many sweepstakes videogame locations are being "used as money laundering businesses."
As previously reported by VT, SB 317 was introduced on March 28 by state Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D-Canfield). According to the Plain Dealer, the law would require operators to pay an application fee of $25,000 (or more) to obtain a license to operate electronic sweepstakes; the license itself would cost at least $100,000. | SEE STORY
The bill would also impose casino-type licensing and regulatory supervision and enforcement on sweeps videogame manufacturers, distributors and locations, along with criminal penalties for violators.