"Government should not pick winners and losers," Patmon said. If Cleveland's casino is allowed to operate, he said, "it ought to be OK for the small business person in the neighborhood who's creating jobs."

State Rep. Kenny Yuko, a Democrat from suburban Richmond Heights and an opponent of the Internet cafe ban, said the uncertainties of a lame-duck session meant the cafe ban could get derailed in the final rush to adjourn.

Opponents say the Internet cafe computer games that operate like slot machines with cash prizes amount to illegal gambling.

Customers pay for Internet time or phone cards and use them to bet points on computers loaded with games such as poker. Operators say they sell legitimate products with a chance to win a prize.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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