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Luck Running Out for Sweepstakes Gambling Cafes

PHOTO: A bill advancing through the California Legislature would close a loophole that allows sweepstakes gambling cafes to operate in the state. Photo credit: Wikipedia.
PHOTO: A bill advancing through the California Legislature would close a loophole that allows sweepstakes gambling cafes to operate in the state. Photo credit: Wikipedia.
April 28, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - An effort to crack down on Internet gambling cafes is finding luck in the California Legislature. Assembly member Rudy Salas of Bakersfield says his bill would close a loophole in the law that allows these sweepstakes gambling cafes to mimic legal casinos. He says the cafes, that can be found in strip malls and gas stations throughout the state, have become magnets for crime.

"Folks over in Oakland in the Bay Area, obviously in the Central Valley down to Riverside, down to San Diego County ... this is an issue that not only affects legitimate local businesses, but it also affects the public safety," he said.

The bill would make sweepstakes gambling cafes an unfair business practice, a move that would permit cities, counties, and the Justice Department to bring civil lawsuits against the operators.

Salas says AB1439 is in response to concerns from local business owners about an increase in crime near sweepstakes gambling establishments. He says he's seen a dramatic increase in his own jurisdiction in the Central Valley.

"I've seen issues of drugs, of prostitution, impacts to local, legitimate businesses in these strip malls where these things are occurring."

Salas says his office has been working for the past year in partnership with the Department of Justice, the FBI and local leaders to craft the legislation. He's convinced it would be the "final nail in the coffin" for illegal gambling cafes. The bill cleared the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee this week with bipartisan support.

More information is at ASMDC.org.



Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA