An Ohio House panel has approved a crackdown on storefront gambling-like operations known as Internet cafes.
In an 8-2 vote Tuesday, the House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee cleared the measure's way to a full House vote. It imposes operating restrictions, registration requirements and background checks on the more than 800 operations around the state. Opponents say the cafes allow illegal gambling. Backers say they are legal and help the economy. Patrons buy cards for phone and Internet time with chances to play computer games that operate like slot machines with cash prizes. A House vote could come as soon as Wednesday, but the bill's fate if it reaches the Ohio Senate is unclear. A similar measure failed to gain traction there last session after approval by the House.