Monday March 11,2013 : CALIFORNIA MIRRORS NORTH CAROLINA SWEEPSTAKES BAN (Update)
Authorities, gaming associations, vendors and operators at odds over legality of sweepstakes operations
Californian law makers are seemingly mirroring North Carolina's attempt to clamp down on internet cafe sweepstakes' style online gambling.
The Rancho Cordova City Council approved a 45-day moratorium last week preventing such businesses from opening, despite the fact that there are none operating at present. According to the Sacramento Bee, officials are exploring an ordinance to ban these internet cafes outright.
While the State Department of Justice issued an advisory toward the end of last year categorising these businesses as illegal gambling operations, operators and vendors maintain their businesses are legal, as one said: "The problem is perception. People think it's gambling because the computer resembles aslot machine.
Anthony Ranaldi, chief executive officer of Delaware-based sweepstakes vendor Sweeps Logic, added: "You buy two hours' worth of Internet time and receive entries to play the games; it's the same as buying a cheeseburger and winning a prize."
But Judy Patterson, an executive director of the American Gaming Association disagrees and questions the integrity of the practice saying there are no background checks, no licencing requirements and no regulation.
The City of Rancho Cordova has reportedly received three business licence applications to operate what officials now suspect to be sweepstakes operations. Two were approved but had not yet opened and a third was denied following the moratorium, said planning director Paul Junker.
Another Californian county saw the Hayward City Council passing a similar ban on sweepstakes businesses earlier this year.