Ohio Lawmakers Vote To Ban Internet Cafes

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Ohio lawmakers voted to ban the 600 cafes across the state Wednesday afternoon.

One internet café owner says the vote wasn't fair.

"We're all going to be on unemployment. We're all going to be looking for food stamps. That's not what we want," Jimmy Brisson said. Brisson owns Cyber World Internet Café in Grove City.

Lawmakers debated closing sweepstakes gambling establishments for months.

On Wednesday, the Ohio House voted to ban it. The measure now goes before Ohio Governor John Kasich. He is expected to sign it.

"These things have been here for five or six years. There's never been any issue. Big money casinos come in town and we're a nuisance and that's a shame," Brisson said.

Lawmakers argued the new casinos did not play a role in banning internet cafes.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said internet cafes have become a haven for crime. DeWine released a statement that said, "I applaud the actions of both chambers of the General Assembly to make clear the distinction between legitimate sweepstakes and the illegal gambling taking place at internet cafes across Ohio. This clarity will make it easier for local law enforcement to enforce Ohio law."

"I've worked in several states and I've never been at a café where that is going on," Brisson said, "The ones that are doing the bad things, they need to be shut down."   

Brisson wished the state would regulate internet cafes instead of shutting them down. He also suggested putting the measure up for a vote for all Ohioans to vote on instead.

"Come in and regulate us. Put us up for a vote by the people and just give us that chance. Let the people decide."

Brisson plans to fight the legislation.

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