June 27, 2016


DeWine easing up on raffle machines ban

CLEVELAND — Veterans and fraternal groups across Ohio have continued to set up electronic raffle machines despite an April order from the state’s attorney general mandating that all the slots-like devices be removed by Aug. 1.

Now, Attorney General Mike DeWine has decided to delay enforcing the ban after state Senate leaders notified him that they’re considering legalizing the devices, The Plain Dealer reported on Monday.

“We’re standing down for now, but we are not going to stand down forever,” the head of DeWine’s charitable-law section, Pete Thomas, told the newspaper. He added that local authorities are free to pursue cases.

A Senate leadership spokesman said senators don’t have a definite timetable on the issue but are likely to help the veterans and fraternal groups.

Some of the machines were installed as recently as mid-August.

An attorney for a supplier of the machines, David Kopech, said they resemble slots. The machines produce $1 raffle tickets that function like instant lottery vouchers, said Kopech, of the Columbus-based Charitable Management and Capital Group.

Winners can earn up to $1,199, a dollar shy of the threshold for reporting to the Internal Revenue Service.

A lobbyist for the Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition, Mitch Given, said the groups must offer electronic games to be able to compete with casinos, combined race tracks and casinos known as racinos and other venues that offer Keno and Internet cafes.

Given said if there’s no legislative action the groups will take their case to court.