Skill games to be licensed, regulated by Ohio Casino Control Commission

Games of skill, from claw machines that nab prizes to arcade games that issue tokens or tickets, will now be licensed and regulated by the Ohio Casino Control Commission.

The commission, which was given oversight of the games by state law in 2015, has developed rules and license fees, which are expected to go into effect by the end of April.

The staff spent most of a year learning about the industry, commission spokeswoman Jessica Franks said.

“We tried to work with the industry and various stakeholders,” she said. “Our goal is to make it easy to identify the people doing this legitimately and make it easy to weed out and shut down the illegal slot machines.”

The commission has many ongoing investigations into illegal casinos, she said.

“We had to craft these rules so we weed out all the illegal activity,” she said.

Unlike other states, Ohio’s law requires that the opportunity to win a prize in amusement games must be based on the skill of the player rather than a chance event, Franks said.

Prizes can be awarded, but the prizes cannot be cash, gift cards, plays on games of chance (such as slot machines), lottery tickets, bingo, firearms, tobacco or alcoholic beverages.

The wholesale value of merchandise awarded as a result of a single play cannot exceed $10, but it is permissible to combine tickets or tokens to collect a prize worth more than $10.

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