You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myDaytonDailyNews.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myDaytonDailyNews.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myDaytonDailyNews.com.

Group seeks to overturn sweepstakes ban

More than 430,000 signatures turned in for November 2014 ballot issue.


Petitioners seeking to overturn a new ban on Internet sweepstakes cafes turned in more than 430,000 signatures to put the referendum on the November 2014 ballot.

The Committee to Protect Ohio Jobs needs more than 231,148 valid signatures and a significant number from at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties to delay implementation of House Bill 7 until next year. Petition signatures will be sent to county boards of election to verify the signers reside in Ohio.

Sweepstakes cafes sell Internet or phone time with free sweepstakes points that can be used to play slots-like games played on computers. An estimated 800 cafes operated at one time, but the new law’s requirement that businesses register with the attorney general’s office revealed only 339 are currently in operation. The Miami Valley is home to about 30 registered cafes.

Attorney General Mike DeWine has said the cafes, a cash-only business, are ripe for money laundering, illegal gambling and other illegal activity. Cafe owners say most businesses offer a legitimate sweepstakes and they want to be regulated.

“Anybody who plays a McDonald’s Monopoly game knows that sweepstakes are legal across the country and in Ohio,” campaign spokesman Matt Dole told reporters. “If somebody is operating slot machines or something else that is against the laws in Ohio, we’re in favor of shutting them down.”

Dole said the group turned in 433,884 signatures with signatures from every county, with the help of hundreds of paid and volunteer signature gatherers.

The group is the first to petition for referendum under a new law enacted earlier this year that reduces the time available to collect signatures. Previously, groups could continue gathering signatures after turning in the first batch. The new law requires groups to halt collecting signatures while boards of election verify their authenticity, the collecting of new signatures to a 10-day bonus period.

The referendum would trigger a costly battle between the cafes and software companies and Ohio’s casinos, which were written into the state’s constitution by voters through a 2009 ballot issue.

Ohioans Against Illegal Gambling, an opposition group backed by the casinos, said the petition effort has been wrought with deceptive tactics and misinformation.

“Internet cafe operatives have resorted to deception, mischaracterizations and plain old fashion lying to collect their signatures,” spokesman Carlo LoParo said in a statement. “Individuals who signed these petitions would be surprised to learn they were not supporting a Justice Department investigation of the George Zimmerman jury verdict, among other things.”

The pro-Internet cafe group raised $641,500 during the first six months of the year, mostly from a South Carolina-based sweepstakes software company and a dozen Ohio Internet cafes, according to campaign finance reports. The group spent $551,250 for paid signature gatherers during that time.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

Lawmakers wary of Russia's ability to plant dirt, fake evidence on their computers
Lawmakers wary of Russia's ability to plant dirt, fake evidence on their computers

In a brief and largely overlooked exchange between Sen. Marco Rubio and America's top spy during a January hearing about Russia's alleged election meddling, the Florida Republican sketched out what he fears could be the next front in the hidden wars of cyberspace.  Could Russian hackers, Rubio asked then-Director of National Intelligence James...
Local senator says legislation needed after latest dog mauling death
Local senator says legislation needed after latest dog mauling death

When a pit bull broke free from its chain and attacked 60-year-old Maurice Brown Tuesday morning, it marked the third time in three years that a dog killed someone in Dayton, and at least the eighth time in Ohio during that span. Yet despite the brutal nature of the deaths — Brown pleaded “Jesus help me, help me” before police arrived...
Has the 9th Circuit gone ‘bananas’? And can Trump break it up?
Has the 9th Circuit gone ‘bananas’? And can Trump break it up?

President Donald Trump, angry about a judge's decision to temporarily block enforcement of his order against "sanctuary" cities, has called for breaking up the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  Never mind that the sanctuary city ruling came from a trial judge on the district court bench in San Francisco — not the 9th Circuit...
Can Democrats force Republicans' hands on Trump's tax returns? 
Can Democrats force Republicans' hands on Trump's tax returns? 

House Democrats want to force Republicans' hands on President Donald Trump's tax returns — but it remains to be seen how effective posturing can be for the minority.  House Democrats plan to have Massachusetts Rep. Katherine M. Clark introduce legislation requiring Trump to release his tax returns from 2007 to 2016, according to The Washington...
Last-minute GOP push on health care threatens government spending deal
Last-minute GOP push on health care threatens government spending deal

A last-minute push to revive a Republican plan to rewrite the nation's health-care law is threatening to derail a bipartisan deal to avoid a government shutdown.   Under pressure from the White House, House Republican leaders appeared to be gauging support for a vote on health care as early as Friday. The move alarmed key Democrats, who said...
More Stories