Skill Games Operators to be Shut Down in Ohio

by Kyle Miller

Ohio StateOhio state regulators are looking to go after skill games operators as they are using illegal slot machines in their facilities.

Skill games are being considered as a top gaming choice for millennials around the world yet some states in the US still do not allow such games to take place based on the fact that they are similar to games that are considered illegal in the state. While Nevada and other states begin to focus on skill gaming, such states as Ohio are planning on shutting down operators who are offering skill gaming options that are considered to be nothing but illegal slot machines.

New Regulations to Be Considered

Regulators in the state are going to be considering new regulations for gaming during a meeting on Wednesday. The Ohio Casino Control Commission will be meeting tomorrow to make changes that would impact close to 7,000 operations of skill gaming across the state. This would surprisingly include family entertainment facilities such as Chuck E. Cheese and Dave & Busters.

The state is trying to eliminate 600 to 800 operations that are considered sketchy in the state. Patrons are able to play slot machines that are paying cash prizes which are considered to be in violation of state laws. Casino Control Commission Executive Director Matt Schuler commented on the regulation changes by stating:

Matt Schuler Statement

Prizes have the ability to be worth more than $10 and can include gas cards. Operators of such games that offer cash payouts do have the ability to be charged with a fifth degree felony which can result in 12 months of jail time along with a fine of $2,500. The penalties will go up for those who are repeat offenders.

An Ongoing Process

According to Schuler, regulators of the state have been working for many years to try and eliminate illegal operators and have raided as well as shut down many such operations. Internet arcades have been out for years but many just rebranded their offerings to be skill games and kept on offering services as they did before.

Last year, the General Assembly tried to solve the problem with the state budget by expanding the authority of the Casino Control Commission. The expansion included requirements for licensing and reporting for all operators, distributors and manufacturers of skill games. Based on the new requirements, small operators will not have to pay a fee but regional distributors will have to pay a licensing fee of $20,000.

The commission has been quite busy, trying to enact regulations one by one and working on submitting rules to the organizations required including the Common Sense Initiative and the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review.

Reportedly the process for regulations will be completed by next fall. Kurt O. Gearhiser is an attorney that represents the operator and manufacturers of skill games and is in agreement with almost all of the regulations that are being proposed by the commission. Gearhiser stated that he does not think they want to put people out of business and the difficult thing they have to do is draw a fine line between the entertainment facilities like Dave & Busters and the skill games that are not considered legal. The bad guys need to be put out of business while the quality people that Gearhiser represents can continue to operate.