MOUNT VERNON — Two skill game parlors in Knox County have been shut down by a joint effort by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
According to Capt. David Shaffer of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, the search warrants were issued on March 4, after the department received complaints about the two establishments.
Rob Broeren, assistant director of law told the News in an e-mail, “I cannot comment about any case that is being reviewed by the Office of the Mount Vernon City Law Director, but if charges are authorized we will let you know.”
The parlors in question are at 22021 Coshocton Road near the entrance of Apple Valley and in the Ag Services Building on Harcourt Road.
A call to Elena Reiss, manager of the facilities, seeking comment has not been returned.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office did confirm it assisted the sheriff’s office with the investigation but would not comment further.
Mike DeWine, Ohio Attorney General, has suggested legislation be written and approved that would regulate “electronic games that look like slot machines, which may mislead players and cause confusion for law enforcement.”
DeWine is working with Nan Baker, R-Westlake, and Marlene Anielski, R-Walton Hills, who will sponsor legislation.
Slot machines are currently not regulated in Ohio and will only be legal in the four licensed casinos in Ohio.
“Electronic games that do not follow the rules are most likely illegal slot machines,” states a document from the OAG which explains what is legal, what is not and what needs fixed. “Some operators or skill-based amusement games are also skirting gambling laws by operating machines that require no demonstratable skills to operate and resemble illegal slot machines. ... By operating based on chance, giving out cash prizes, gift cards or merchandise with excessive value, the games are slot machines and are not legal skill-based amusement machines.”
Legal skill games in Ohio include arcade-like games including skee ball or pop-a-shot basketball games. Prizes must be merchandise worth less than $10. No cash prizes are permitted.
In January, five skill-game businesses in Newark were raided and shut down. Three women were charged with various counts of operating a gaming house.