Wednesday July 25,2012 : CALIFORNIA CRACKDOWN ON INTERNET CAFE GAMBLING
9 businesses served with cease and desist orders
The District Attorney's office in Bakersfield, California has instituted a major crackdown on gambling via internet cafes, serving nine local businesses with cease and desist orders this week.
Deputy District Attorney Greg Pulskamp told local reporters that the phenomenon has been a problem nationwide for several years, but in Bakerfield it had become an epidemic in the last few months.
"We have these facilities opening up left and right and it's a concern for us," he said.
Pulskamp revealed that detectives had visited various premises in their investigations.
"In all of the locations and out of all the times the detectives have gone there, out of all the customers, every single one of them were gambling except for one. And that one person was interviewed and he said the only reason he was surfing the Internet was because he had already lost all his money that day," the DA said.
Prompted by enforcement authorities a County Superior Court judge has ordered Internet cafes throughout the county to cease any sweepstakes elements of their business.
Some businesses have shut down as a result, while others remain open until the judge signs an injunction order.
Cyber cafes running gambling-disguised-as-sweepstakes can face civil penalties of $2,500 per violation
"If you take the number of terminals multiplied by the number of days that the cafes have been open multiplied by $2,500, we're looking at tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars," said Pulskamp, who noted that players could also be prosecuted for illegal gambling, although the businesses involved were the main target of enforcement operations.