Internet Cafe Petition Collectors Allege Harassment By Casinos

Jul 16, 2013

People collecting signatures on a petition aimed at blocking the state's internet cafe law say they have been harassed by opponents hired by Ohio casinos.

A group called The Committee to Protect Ohio Jobs says petition workers have recently filed police reports in Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo alleging they have been physically threatened by individuals hired by casino stakeholders who do not want to see a referendum on the ballot. A Franklin County magistrate last week issued a stalking protection order. The law severely limits casino-style games offered by Internet cafes. Cafe operators say the state is trying to weed them out to lower competition with casinos and the lottery. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has called the cafes fronts for illegal gambling. The group must gather more than 230 thousand valid petition signatures by early September.