An Ohio-based charity poker room had to shut down after the state found that illegal electronic equipment was used to operate it.
DiWine’s office also alleged that Northeast Ohio Charity Services, which owns and operates the charity poker room, failed to register with the attorney general’s office in compliance with the state’s laws. The charity poker room was therefore ordered to shut down immediately.
On September 8, Buckeye Charity posted on its Facebook page that its “mission is not over.” It urged its supporters to approach state senators on its behalf and request them to pass laws that the charity could use to re-open its poker room. But currently, the charity poker room has to shut down.
Christopher McCauley, one of the owners of Northeast Ohio Charity Services, says that he had no idea that the state’s laws require him to register with the attorney general’s office. Stating that he had kept the attorney general’s office informed about the electronic machines resembling slots that the charity poker room had later removed, he said: “There never was any indication that they had any problem with what we were doing up until the issuance of the opinion.”
Buckeye was the only functioning charity poker room in Ohio. A year back, a poker room in Cleveland had to be shut down as it couldn’t deal with competition from the Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland.
According to McCauley, as many as 40 charities benefited from the funds raised by Buckeye Charity Poker. Since the charity poker room was required to be monitored by a local government, Woodmere agreed to act as overseer and obtained a monthly fee of $6,000 for the services. Woodmere Mayor Charles Smith said that Woodmere “loved doing business” with the charity poker room, but wouldn’t speak against the decision of the attorney general’s office.
Kate Hanson, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, said that they began investigating the charity poker room after receiving several complaints.
Ohio’s gambling law permits slot machine games only in the state’s four licensed casinos. The slot machines installed at horse racing tracks have been classified by the state as video lottery terminals and are being regulated by the Ohio Lottery Commission.