12/12/2012 : SACRAMENTO INTERNET CAFES BUST FOR ONLINE GAMBLING
Morning raid nets large number of computers and cash
Large numbers of police officers and other officials surprised two Sacramento internet cafe owners allegedly offering online gambling services on Tuesday morning, seizing a substantial amount of cash and computers.
A spokesman for Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department said gamblers were using computers, citing the controversial "sweepstakes" technology argument to circumvent local gambling laws.
The officers targeted the Izone and Web Stop internet cafes, which a spokesman claimed were fronts for illegal Internet gambling operations.
Gamblers present during the raid told reporters that most nights the venues were filled to capacity, with every computer in use by punters who did not regard the pastime as an illegal activity.
Ten gamblers were questioned by police but released with a warning. Investigators are looking for the owners of both cafes and plan to arrest them, the spokesman revealed.
The attorney representing the owner of Izone later claimed that the games offered were no different than sweepstake promotions at McDonald’s.
“It’s really hard to discern under the law, under anybody’s interpretation of the current laws in California or any other state, whether this is gambling or not,” Mark Reichel said.
Police investigators differed, claiming the businesses were involved in an illegal activity that attracted criminal elements, and that surrounding businesses had complained.