Sentencing for illegal gambling equipment supplier

Sentencing for illegal gambling equipment supplier

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - A woman who illegally helped internet cafes make millions of dollars was sentenced to probation Thursday.

Erin Nelson admitted to being an illegal gambling equipment supplier, providing cards that make the games in Internet cafes go.

Nelson's business is legal in a lot of places, but not Cuyahoga County.

Nelson says she checked with people in the industry and was told the game boards that they would be supplying in Ohio were all Ohio compliant.

Judge John Sutula wondered aloud why she didn't seek a legal opinion.

"Except for being foolish when it comes to spending money on a lawyer you got yourself in a world of trouble," said Judge Sutula.

Prosecution of Internet cafes is a county-by-county choice.

While Cuyahoga County has chosen to step up prosecutions further, cafes are still going strong in Lorain and some other counties.

Lawyers for other suppliers who refused to plead were in court watching closely because Norton will testify for prosecutors in other cases.

"We've made it clear we're not gonna have illegal gambling devices in Cuyahoga County and we're gonna go wherever necessary to make sure that's accomplished," said Assistant County Prosecutor Carl Sullivan.

In this case Norton was brought here from Wisconsin. Some say the cafes are victimless crimes, but prosecutors disagree.

"These individuals are not regulated, they are able to set their winnings at a certain level that they are able to gather whatever money they determine necessary," said Sullivan.

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