Originally Posted by The Palimax
As I'm fascinated with strip-mall card games, can anyone point me to Ohio law on these? Is this a charitable room? Is that how it's done there? [I]
In Ohio, as long as there is no rake taken (i.e.typical home game), poker is legal.
They skirt around the law by making it a private club. instead of the normal monthly or annual dues that a typical club charges, they charge a "daily use fee" to use the club. You don't pay to play poker, you pay to use the club. Tipping the dealers is purely vountary, and the money collected for BBJ gets paid out later ... so it "looks" like a rake free home game.
One of the local news stations did a story on these a couple years ago. They even took a hidden camera into them. They then showed the footage to a city attorney (FWIW, they didn't show it to the attorney who handles these types of crimes, but w/e) who said that there was nothing on the film that was illegal.
Realistically, they haven't gotten much heat because there haven't been many (if any) complaints. The local newspaper recently ran a follow-up story on them, and the city prosecutors basically said that they can't find a law that is being broken, and the cops basically said that they had more important things to do with their time. AFAIK, there haven't been any major problems (fights, shootings, robbery, etc) at any of them.
But I agree that once the legal casinos open, these places will either close down or get closed down.