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Fairlawn Bans Internet Cafes for Another Three Months

Fairlawn City Council members approved extending a moratorium on Internet cafes Tuesday night.

Last year, approved a moratorium that prevents "Entertainment Device Arcades," or Internet sweepstakes cafes, from opening in the city. At Tuesday night's council meeting, members approved extending that moratorium for another three months.

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.

"We anticipated the state would act on creating some regulations for these establishments last year, but the state still hasn't acted," said city Law Director Edward Riegler. "We want to extend the moratorium until council can approve city legislation to regulate the cafes."

Regulation legislation has been drafted and will be reviewed at Monday's Committee of the Whole meeting, which starts at 6 p.m.

Mayor William Roth said the city isn't against having Internet cafes established, he just wants some sort of rules in place before they can be permitted.

"We're neutral on the subject until the state comes up with regulations," he said. "Until then, we'll entertain creating our own regulatory statute."

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