Greg Roselli: New Bill on Internet Cafe “Gaming”

Re-Blogged by Greg Roselli

Following similar legislation in Florida, Ohio and other states, California Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) has submitted a bill that would outlaw the quasi-legal “Internet Café” gambling operations in the state. Assembly Bill 1439, Greg Roselliwhich was introduced on Jan. 6, would add “sweepstakes” to the list of unfair business practices prohibited under state law. The bill would also prohibit “gambling-themed” or “simulated gambling electronic video” monitors in a business that awards “sweepstakes cash” or other prizes of value. “Any time you try to mimic a casino-style game like slot machines, it is illegal,” Salas noted, referring to “Internet Cafes” that use terminals and software to mimic slot machines under the umbrella of a legal contest. “This bill will bring clarity to the law to make these illegal.”

 Internet cafe-owner Phillip Walker, who has also created the Internet Cafe Association of California, reiterated his stance that legislators need to wait for an appellate court ruling on the legality of the Cafes before acting, adding, “…it is no different than Albertsons or Rite-Aid. All those places have sweepstakes. Coca-Cola has sweepstakes.”

 Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Williamson told the press that the city has 15 Internet cafes currently operating (up from 13 in November) and considers them “magnets for related criminal activity.”