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Ohio Cracks Down On Illegal Games Of Chance

The Attorney General Jim Petro wants to remind the people and the law enforcement officials in the locales that operators and players of the "skill-based amusement machines" or more commonly known as "Skill Games" may be disobeying the rule of law which states that if these gaming machines might be gambling equipment like the slot machines which are a forbidden on the Ohio Revise Code as "Scheme of Chance". A scheme of Chance is defined in the laws of the state of Ohio as "a slot machine or other scheme in which a player gives importance for the chance to win a prize but does not include a skill based gaming machine. Using a gambling device is also against the state laws for liquor permit holders.

Attorney General Jim Petro's have assisted the Ohio Department of Public Safety win a state liquor control commission ruling back in April 2006 that the amusement machines, appropriately named "Tic Tac Fruit" which are operated by a Fraternal Order of Eagles that are lodge in Pomeroy were in fact considered as electronic video gambling machines. The Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 2171, which carries a liquor permit holder, has appealed the commission's ruling to the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, where it is still being heard. The Public Safety department, which is considered a statutory client of the Attorney General. They are the department that is responsible for investigating violations of the states liquor and rules. With the help of an expert testimony, Both Attorney General Jim Petro and the Public Safety Department successfully defended that the whole outcome of the play on the 'Tic Tac Fruit' gaming machines including the how much you could win and the losses, was determined by luck rather than the players own skill and the whole machine was made to guarantee a return of the profit to the operator regardless the level of the player's skills regarding games of chance.

But the difference, under the state law, a gaming machine is not illegal if it really brings out the player's skill in winning the game and if the player has a bigger part in the whole game and the outcome will not only be determined by pure chance and the outcome is not controlled bty rhe player who do not have any active participation in the game. Both the Attorney General and the public safety department also won on the previous ruling on a gambling device called "Gone Fishin" and "Chess Challenge". But the legal issues about the machines is far from over in Ohio. The ruling by the commission last April 2006 is in contrast with the May 2005 ruling. The Meigs County Common Pleas Court decided that the "Tic Tac Fruit" Game Machines that the court have reviewed in two different cases(by the Village of Pomeroy) were in fact skill based games, not gambling devices and the November 2005 ruling by the same court enjoining the public safety department from confiscating the "Tic Tac Fruit" Machines from the liquor permit holders.

The November 2005 ruling was later appealed to the Court of Appeals of District 4, where it is still being heard. Also, the assisting public safety, Attorney General Jim Petro has helped several of the authorities cracked down on this violators in response to the requests for assistance. Attorney General Petro's office has provided help to Columbus, Akron, Toledo, Ashland, Barberton and Loudonville in criminal prosecutions against the operators of this forbidden devices and to Stark and Erie counties and the city of Maple Heights in defending against the legal actions by the operators of this devices who are seeking injunctions against the law enforcers. The Attorney General's office has also provided behind the scenes help to other cities to defend their decision against this machines.

Attorney General Petro also oversees the non-profitable groups in Ohio and sternly said that a conviction awaits anyone who will operate a gambling machine and they would also jeopardize their chance to their right to have a state issued license to sponsor bingo operations. Attorney General Petro do not have the authority to have an independent law enforcement authority to issue and confiscate this gambling machines but the local law officers do. The Attorney General also no authority to make a decision whether a particular game is skill based or not.


Wednesday, 27 September 2006
Theo Evans