Northfield Village -- Northfield Village will soon be home to the first gaming caf in the area since Jackpots and Dusk 'till Dawn closed last year.

Owner Howard Shafron plans to open Skill Zone in the Peppers plaza Jan. 9 at the former SpinnerZ suite.

He said the casino-type games are games of skill, not sweepstakes games or slot machines, adding software the games will use has been tested by a state-approved independent testing laboratory that determined the "No Limit Games System" the caf will be using is legal under state law.

He said players have to make a decision after each spin whether to move a line to the left or right to get their best play. He said it truly is a game of skill, adding "the more you play, the better you get."

"We are not a casino, therefore our skill game caf is not the really the venue for the hard core gambler," Shafron said.

Another big difference is the payout. By law, the business is not able to give cash payouts, Shafron said. Instead, winners will receive their winnings on a card that can only be used to purchase gas.

Though the games are Internet-based, the caf will not sell Internet or phone time. Customers will purchase credits to play the skill games instead, Shafron said.

Snacks, lunch, dinner will be catered to the caf and available for clients at no charge, according to Barb McCullough, Skill Zone manager. McCullough worked for SpinnerZ until it closed, then went to work for Shafron at the Jackpots Internet caf in Summit Plaza before it closed. She said cashiers will double as attendants at Skill Zone.

Shafron said the 80-seat venue was the perfect location, since as the suite had undergone an $80,000 renovation just before it closed. He said the 6,900-square-foot space offers a more intimate environment for clients to socialize and be with friends.

Shafron said Skill Zone will be open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. He said the Rocksino business may help his business.

"The Rocksino drives tons of traffic to the village, and in my opinion people are looking for additional venues of entertainment," he said.

Briana Barker: 330-541-9432

bbarker@recordpub.com