Tuesday February 19,2013 : CALIFORNIAN CITY IMPOSES MORATORIUM ON INTERNET GAMBLING CAFES
Hayward City taking steps to shut down ‘sweepstakes' cafes
Hayward City, the sixth largest municipality in the San Francisco Bay area, is taking a close look at online gambling in internet cafes, and intends to impose a 45-day moratorium on such enterprises whilst it does so.
News of the move has already seen one company in the area decide to permanently shutter its doors, according to a report in the newspaper The Daily Review.
The cafes provide computer terminals that offer "sweepstakes" games, a form of illegal gambling, according to municipal spokesmen.
The city council will consider an emergency ordinance on Tuesday aimed at prohibiting gambling activity at any such cafes during a 45-day moratorium. The moratorium will give city staff members time to look at long-term recommendations, including possibly extending the moratorium or changing the city's zoning ordinance.
"This came on our radar screen a few weeks ago," said Hayward City attorney Michael Lawson, who revealed that a number of complaints from the public had been received regarding online gambling on internet cafe premises.
Hayward staff members sent letters earlier this (February) month ordering the cafe operators to shut down the sweepstakes computers.
The state Bureau of Gambling Control has declared the Internet cafes to be illegal gambling operations.
Alameda County, in which Hayward is located, has also taken steps to start shutting down Internet cafes in the unincorporated areas.
"They call themselves Internet cafes, but they are really online gambling establishments," Supervisor Wilma Chan claimed.