Ohio Bans Internet Cafes Out Of Fear That People Might Gamble In Them

Senior Contributor
05.28.13 11 Comments

It’s like Vegas, except the food isn’t comped, there are no showgirls, you can do something other than gamble, it’s not in the desert, and there’s no buffet. But there is Wayne Newton.

There are some terrible, terrible things on the Internet. Like, “Forget the brain bleach, bring the soul napalm”-type stuff. People are awful. Internet gambling is not among those terrible things, yet apparently it is very terrible in the eyes of the state of Ohio, which has banned Internet cafes to prevent people from gambling.

Residents of the Buckeye State seem to have an odd understanding of what an Internet cafe is supposed to be. You and I may think of it as a place where people pay money to go onto the Internet and maybe get a coffee while they’re at it. In Ohio, they are essentially slots parlors:

Internet cafes operate by selling Internet time or phone cards and in return offer free chances to win cash on computer games that often resemble slot machines. The businesses have survived in a legal gray area.

This is the climax of a long legal battle between the cafe owners and the courts. But this does seem to be something of a problem better solved by just having the cops show up and tell the cafe owners to switch everything to Arrested Development or something. The law itself is actually pretty much just making operating a computer as a slot machine for money in the state illegal, so you find yourself wondering why legislation was even needed.

Apparently the cafe owners will be going straight to the voters to get the measure overturned, so we’ll see what happens. In the meantime, perhaps everybody involved could go to an actual Internet cafe and see how they work. That might clear up some confusion.

Around The Web