The Ohio Coin Machine Assn. is suing Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration over its coronavirus restrictions that ban Ohioans from using coin-op machines in bars, restaurants and elsewhere, but allows play on the state’s lottery kiosks in bars.
According to Cleveland.com, the lawsuit filed in Lake County Common Pleas Court on May 21 accuses Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton and other state officials of exceeding their legal authority under a state emergency health order law.
“Our clients’ constitutional rights were violated,” said Orville Reed, an Akron attorney representing the OCMA. “They’re pretty upset.” The lawsuit reads, in part: “Few people between the ages of 70 to 80 or 90, or who are bound to nursing homes, are found frequenting bars and bowling alleys. Fewer still are going to bars and playing billiards, pinball games, video games or arcade games.”
While the state has started allowing bars and restaurants to reopen, current rules from the health department require them to block access to the machines in order to prevent people from congregating in tight spaces. The lawsuit counters that there are no reasonable differences between the state-owned lottery machines which are allowed to operate and the amusement industry’s equipment.
Shaffer Entertainment’s Andy Shaffer told Columbus Business First: “We find that disgraceful and unethical. You can’t play pool even though that’s a naturally socially distanced game, but you can use the state’s touchscreens?”
The suit is the latest litigation attempting to change DeWine’s rules. It makes similar arguments to another case in Lake County filed by a group of Ohio gyms that challenged the state’s coronavirus restrictions and won.