Californian City To Shut Down Sweepstakes Cafes

The sixth largest municipality in the San Francisco Bay area - Hayward City - intends to impose a 45-day moratorium on online gambling in internet cafes. 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.

Hayward City attorney Michael Lawson has revealed that a number of complaints from the public had been received regarding online gambling on internet cafe premises. Therefore Hayward staff members sent letters earlier this month ordering the cafe operators to shut down the sweepstakes computers.

According to municipal spokesman, the cafes provide computer terminals that offer "sweepstakes" games, a form of illegal gambling, and that is why one company in the area has decided to permanently shut its doors.

Alameda County, in which Hayward is located, has also taken steps to start shutting down Internet cafes in the unincorporated areas. As Supervisor Wilma Chan claims:

"They call themselves Internet cafes, but they are really online gambling establishments."

The state Bureau of Gambling Control has declared the Internet cafes to be illegal gambling operations.

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