Attorney General Wants To Regulate Internet Cafes

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The Internet is fine and a cafe is good, too, but put them together and many people would say you've got trouble with a capital "t."

"These Internet cafes are taking money from Ohioans, says Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

"With these new Internet cafes are totally unregulated, we don't know who's doing it and I guarantee you the money's not going to charity. So we just asked the legislature to regulate them like we do other forms of gambling in the state of Ohio. It's a very, very dangerous situation. I think it's a consumer rip-off quite frankly."

Internet cafes offer games that function like slot machines with cash prizes.

Reports indicate there are hundreds of game parlors around the state.

Attorney General DeWine supports a proposal that would require operators to be licensed and limit the number of games per site.

Owners of Internet cafes maintain they're operating within the law.

They say the businesses don't meet the legal definitions to be considered gambling.

At least one judge in Ohio has agreed, ruling in favor of an owner in one case.

Customers at the gaming sites pay for Internet time or phones cards and use them to bet points on computers with games such as poker or slots.

Winners can get cash or prizes.