Attorney Scott D. Phillips of the Frost Brown Todd law firm recommended during a work session on Tuesday, May 24, that the West Chester Township Board of Trustees vote to prohibit any Internet sweepstakes establishments (otherwise known as Internet cafes) from setting up in the township.
Phillips and professor Alan Weinstein of Cleveland State University were among the guests who presented proposed zoning text amendments in the areas of sexually oriented businesses, Internet cafes (not to be confused with coffee shops or restaurants that provide the Internet) and other related zoning issues.
The attorney said that customers, at a particular Internet sweepstakes establishment, were able to purchase a phone card worth $5 to $50. Then those customers could swipe those cards at computer terminals to play games, such as poker, slot-machine type gaming and tic-tac-toe.
“If you win, the balance goes up and if you lose the balance goes down,” Phillips said.
Phillips described the use of phone cards as a way these companies are trying to avoid gambling laws.
In February, the board agreed to enact a moratorium on Internet cafes. That moratorium postponed those types of businesses from entering the township for a six-month period. The board is scheduled to lift the moratorium in August.
The board did discuss the proposed zoning text amendments, including Internet cafes, at Tuesday’s meeting and will likely vote on the amendments at the next board meeting, which is scheduled for June 14 at 6 p.m.
Part of the zoning text amendments also concerned sexually oriented businesses. This proposed amendment will make those types of businesses to be located at least 150 feet back from 747 or Port Union Road. Meaning that any tenant with this type of business will not be allowed to be located along the main street. There are also two zones where sexually oriented businesses can be located in the township. One zone is located off Commercial Drive near 747 and the other is around the intersection of 747 and Port Union Road.