Conspiracy theorist

Ohio law shuts down 800 businesses

 by Mark Luedtke


And people wonder why our economy is so bad.

In June, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a law effectively banning Internet cafés. Attorney General Mike DeWine began enforcing the law this week. With the stroke of a pen, Ohio’s rulers wiped out 800 businesses that peacefully served the people.

The debate whether Internet cafés were gambling or not missed the point. These businesses provided a peaceful service – entertainment – valued by people, and that’s all that matters. State government used aggression and threats of violence to shut these productive businesses down, illustrating once again that the state does not serve the people. The state is a predator, the supreme predator within its geographical boundary.

The Springfield News-Sun exposed some of the inanity being spewed by politicians regarding the ban: “[Springfield] Mayor Warren Copeland was pleased the state took the lead on the ban. The city had delayed its ban on the businesses earlier last year while waiting on the state to take action. ‘I think it’s always better when something like this is done statewide so there’s not a difference between communities,’ Copeland said.”

If Copeland explained why he thought that, the Sun didn’t report it. I’m not surprised that a politician would advocate universal application of aggression against the people, but he’s wrong. Peace is always superior to violence, so the state’s threats of violence against peaceful people always harm society. Freedom, innovation and voluntary exchange are always superior to oppression. The human condition is advanced through peaceful interaction of individuals. Every advance of civilization, from the time two cavemen realized both would be better off if the one better at making spears focused on that and the one better at hunting with them focused on that, is a result of the division of labor. Oppression retards the division of labor, slowing down or reversing the advance of civilization.

The Sun continued: “Copeland said he was concerned about lost jobs in the community, but the decision was made by state lawmakers for the greater good. ‘It’s always bad to lose jobs, but sometimes that goes with doing what’s best for the community,’ Copeland said.” It would be humorous to read how Copeland rationalized that, but the Sun did not say.

But since shutting down these businesses isn’t good for the community, it must be good for somebody else. After all, these businesses employed people and produced profits. The owners and employees paid state and local taxes, so shutting them down cost our rulers tax money.

It may seem like they shot themselves in the foot, but they didn’t. Our greedy rulers never reduce their share of the loot they steal unless they have something bigger to gain. In this case, they shut down Internet cafes because the richer casinos hated the competition.

A July story in the Akron Beacon Journal explained the economics: “The summer vacation season began badly for Ohio’s four casinos. All four casinos saw their revenues drop in June, with revenues at the Horseshoe Cincinnati down the most, at 10 percent. The Cincinnati casino was hurt by lower revenue from both slot machines and table games. Revenues were off more than 3 percent at both the Cleveland and Toledo casinos and down 1.5 percent at Hollywood Columbus. Casino revenues statewide in June were $68.6 million. That was the least in the four full months with all four Ohio casinos open and was down nearly 5 percent from May.”

After a short honeymoon, revenue is down at Ohio casinos. Casino owners aren’t stupid. They knew this would happen. More fundamentally, they realize every person sitting in an Internet café is not gambling in their casinos. Our rulers’ casino cartel wants gamblers to have no option but to gamble in their giant casinos.

Casino owners paid a tremendous amount to make that happen. Each casino already paid a $50 million licensing fee. They also pay 33 percent tax on revenue, not profit. This is among the highest in the nation, and Kasich wants more. This money is spread around to every county in Ohio, so Copeland had a financial interest in shutting down Internet cafés in Springfield, too. In return for stealing this fantastic amount of money from casinos, casino owners demanded the state outlaw Internet cafés, so our rulers did.

Here’s the funny part: “The casinos began opening last year under a voter-approved plan meant to create jobs and spur development.” I bet the irony is lost on Copeland. A further irony: because government steals so much money from the casinos, they’re just looting agents for government. They don’t add to our economy. They subtract from it.

But Internet café entrepreneurs aren’t giving up easily. They made too much money to do so. The state didn’t want to appear heavy handed when it banned the businesses, so it banned them on an easily worked-around technicality between games of chance and games of skill. Café owners need only reprogram their terminals to get around the technicality. Ultimately, the market always wins because the laws of economics cannot be denied.

The views and opinions expressed in Conspiracy Theorist are the views and/or opinions of the author and do not reflect the views and/or opinions of the Dayton City Paper or Dayton City Media and are published strictly for entertainment purposes only.

 Mark Luedtke is an electrical engineer with a degree from the University of Cincinnati and currently works for a Dayton attorney. He can be reached at


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Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at

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