Wednesday January 8,2014 : NEW ORLEANS INTERNET CAFE BUSTED FOR GAMBLING
Over a hundred computer terminals used for online gambling, police claim.
Police in Gretna, New Orleans have reported a major online gambling shutdown at an Internet cafe following two months of surveillance and undercover investigations.
The Times-Picayune reports that police raided the Lucky Times Internet Cafe at the Gretna shopping centre mid-morning Wednesday, finding that over a hundred computer terminals were being used for online gambling on casino-style games, and that a large amount of money was being kept on the premises, along with some marijuana.
Gretna Police Deputy Chief Anthony Christiana said the premises was clearly being run as a front for an illegal online gambling enterprise, and not as it claimed as an internet cafe and copying service.
Officers simultaneously served search warrants at two residences in New Orleans, and detectives arrested Lucky Times owner Jason Tomas (35) and the business' manager, Manuel Villagran (48). A third man, co-owner Marshall Isso (50) is still being sought.
Christiana said that patrons bought an access number and password along with credits to play games. They could then swipe their card at a terminal and begin gambling. Similar to casinos, players earned credits based on their wagers and wins, Christiana said. They could then "cash out" afterwards.
Detectives determined that players could also access the games offsite, but had to return to the cafe to claim any winnings.
Internet sweepstakes cafes designed to subvert anti-gambling laws and license requirements have begun popping up all over the United States, Christiana said. Authorities estimate the operations generate $10 billion a year, revenue that isn't regulated or taxed.
"This is the first Internet cafe that has been raided in the state of Louisiana, to our knowledge," he said.