Cleveland schools to get about 600 computers used for slots and poker games at Internet cafes


CLEVELAND — Cleveland schools are slated to receive hundreds of computers that authorities seized from Internet cafes where they were used for poker or slots-style games.

The Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Investigative Unit plans to donate about 600 computers if the school board gives approval later this month, The Plain Dealer reported.

The casino programs and operating systems have been removed from the machines, which will need software installed before they can be used. The computers were offered to the city school district because its technical department is large enough to handle them, said Greg Croft, agent-in-charge of the investigative unit in Cleveland.

They were taken in an investigation of nine Cuyahoga County internet cafes and their software provider, which pleaded guilty to a gambling-related charge, paid a fine and agreed not to do business in Ohio, the newspaper said.

Ohio cracked down on such businesses with a new law last year.

District officials said they won’t accept old computers but that the seized machines are new enough to be of use in classrooms.

The computers were taken from Internet cafes in Cleveland, Cuyahoga Heights, East Cleveland, Euclid, Maple Heights, Parma Heights and Westlake.

Ohio had hundreds of those businesses when it cracked down on them with a new law last year that effectively bans storefront sweepstakes parlors. The law restricted payouts at Internet cafes, which law enforcement officials argued had harbored illegal gambling operations.

Internet cafe operators argued that they had legitimate businesses.