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Council Looks to Extend Moratorium on Internet Cafes

A bill regulating the cafes awaits Ohio House approval, and council will decide what to do after it passes or fails.

Fairlawn City Council has decided it's in the city's best interest to extend a moratorium on any Internet sweepstakes cafes until the state passes regulation legislation. Council will vote to next Monday.

Council met in a committee meeting Monday night at

"The (state) senate passed a law with a moratorium on all new devices last week," said city Law Director Edward Riegler. "Now the bill is in the state House and it's only half approved so I want to extend our moratorium until wee see what the state does."

City administration has already drafted two pieces of legislation that would regulate the cafes, should any come to the city.

At Internet sweepstakes cafes, customers buy phone cards for any amount of money, and that money correlates to sweepstakes points. The customer uses the card to get on the Internet to surf or play sweepstakes games. Customers have the potential to win money, but the games are not considered gambling since the chances of winning is predetermined.

Council already approved extending the same moratorium that started a year ago in February.

"I think this is a wise thing to do," said council President Russ Sharnsky. "We should wait and see what they do so we can do something in concert with the state."

The next city council meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on May 21.

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