Should council approve license fee reduction


Internet café owner asks for license fee reduction

Skill Game KingFREMONT - A businessman who owned the city’s existing internet café seeks to reduce the annual licensing and individual machine fees in Fremont.

During the council meeting, Marvin Dabish, owner of the Players Club Internet Café turned Talk N Win said he does not object being regulated. He, however, told that he needs relief from the fees drawn up in 2012 when Players Club Internet Café drew more traffic with sweepstakes games.

The internet café operator asked the council to reduce the annual license fee from $4,000 to $2,500 and lower sweepstakes machine license from $100 to $25 as well.

According to Dabish, the state’s gambling statute which forced him to shift from sweepstakes games into skill-based games resulted in a 90% drop in business from 75 to 100 patrons on weekends to 15 patrons only.

“It’s hard for some people to adjust to skills,” Dabish stated before council.

Dabish’s proposal got 2-2 vote from the council with opposition from committee chairman Bob Gross and Joe Michles.

Gross said a reduction in fees is possible, but not to the level proposed by Dabish while Michles told the rate reductions should be lower than proposed.

The proposal will be moved to the full city council for a vote.



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California Cities Unsure How To Tax Emerging Cyber Cafe Businesses After Court Win


Pre-Reveal-GoldVISALIA, California - The members of the city of Visalia Planning Commission maintained that an internet business was an arcade which required a conditional-use permit.

The Commission voted unanimously against Wonderland who appealed that the establishment offering internet time to customers in 324 S. Mooney Blvd. was just a retail business offering of phone cards, cell phone covers, snacks and other items.

Wonderland’s lawyer argued that based on the Visalia’s municipal code, the establishment’s activities with computers do not meet the definition of an arcade. The city officials, however, decide that the establishment was an arcade, therefore, it need a conditional-use permit to continue its operation.

In May 2013, law enforcement raid Wonderland and Dreamland owned by husband and wife Melham Farah and Silva Ghreir, both 39 from Woodlake.

Police also found about $88,000 cash stashed inside the couple’s house.

wp17According to undercover agents who played casino-type games on Wonderland, although the owners advertised both businesses as internet cafes, nearby shop owners knew that was just a front.

“They were advised that for every cent spent, a point was loaded on the players’ cards, and with these points, one could bet on video games on the computer. The original money spent on the card could not be cashed out, but the player could cash out the winnings from playing the video game,” read the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office report.

Both Ghreir and Farah were charged with misdemeanor counts of possessing illegal gaming devices and possessing slot machines or devices. They were also scheduled for a re-arraignment on six counts of felony, money laundering, and conspiracy at the Tulare County Superior Court on July 24.



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Why Willie Brown flips sides; crusade with casino mogul Adelson against iPoker



Business mogul Sheldon Adelson added another knight in his political chess as former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, who used to support internet poker legislation flipped side and joined the crusade against iPoker.

Last week, Brown, former mayor of San Francisco released an open letter announcing his involvement with the Coalition To Stop Internet Gambling as California Chair and Co-Chair of the movement.

“There are a multitude of reasons to oppose the expansion of Internet gambling. I was once on the wrong side of this issue — speaking for and supporting Internet poker — but I have since learned about some of the tactics used by online gambling companies to lure young people,” the letter read.

Based on the letter, Brown flipped because of evidence showing “repulsive tactics used to target our children.”

“If these companies get their way, parents in California and around the country will have to worry about their kids gambling away tuition money or running up credit card debt playing online poker,” Brown explained in his letter.

He also pointed out that internet gambling estimates are not being met in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware. He called these states as “cash-starved states scrambling to fill in gaping holes in their budgets.”

According to the coalition’s spokesman, he had no knowledge whether Brown was compensated for his new role.



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Appeals Court Ruling Opens Door For New Games in California

Promotional Sweepstakes Company Looking For Owner Operators For New Market Op
BAKERSFIELD, CA – A few days after the Fifth Appellate District Court based in Fresno ruled internet cafes as illegal, law enforcement will meet up with the District Attorney’s office on Monday while internet sweepstakes owners will huddle later this week to discuss their next move on the legal battle over sweepstakes.
“We intend to go forward with enforcement very quickly. This opinion gives us a basis on which to move forward with the next phase of enforcement,” Kern County Deputy District Attorney Greg Pulskamp now-hiring-350x350-gifexpressed when the ruling in favour of them was released last Friday.
The D.A. stated that the ruling mean that the internet cafes across Bakersfield operating sweepstakes can be shut down.
“We’re coordinating our efforts with the City Attorney’s office and the Kern County District Attorney’s office. We’re kind of seeking some guidance,” Bakersfield Police Sgt. Joe Grubbs announced.
caBakersfield police tagged internet cafes as nuisance which attract other crimes like loitering, vandalism and drug dealing especially in parking lots.  They reported that there had been several complaints against internet cafes.
“We can say that we have been getting increased calls,” Sgt. Grubbs shared.
Back in 2013, crime related calls increased in the area from a total of 146 calls for service, 92 led to arrest. Most of the calls were from internet cafes like I-Sweeps Internet and Cyber Hot Spot with 37 arrests from 98 calls for service.
“I understand there’s a lot of people in the community that just want them closed immediately, go chain up the doors. However, there are some legal processes that are going to need to be met, and reviewed and gone through before we can do that,” the officer added.
Meanwhile, Phillip Walker of the Internet Café Association declared that they also planning to catch up with the group for their next step.
“We’ll go back to the table and figure out what the next step is. We need to let the community know what’s going on,” he said. “And, not get stressed about it,” Walker explained.babybucks
According to Attorney John Weston who represents the Oz Cafe from F Street, a final ruling is premature because the case was long and complicated.
“It’s pretty likely we’ll go to the (state) Supreme Court,” Weston stated.



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Bill 1439 Would Make Internet Cafes Illegal in California


New Law Looks to Shut Cyber Cafes Down

BAKERSFIELD – A California lawmaker looking to shut down internet cafes in Bakersfield by defining “sweepstakes” as an illegal activity.

Assembly member Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) announced Wednesday that he has introduced Assembly Bill 1439 to fight the rising number of illegal sweepstakes gambling cafes.

The bill would close a loophole in the law that will clearly define the activity of playing games at internet cafes. The bill will also make these activities an unfair business practice that will permit cities, counties, and the DOJ to bring civil lawsuits against the individuals at the center of these activities.

“Illegal sweepstakes gambling cafes are a threat to both public safety and local business,” said Salas. “This legislation will stop these casino-style gambling cafes and give local governments and the Department of Justice the tools needed to shut them down permanently.”

Kern County business owners have voiced concern and support about the consequences of internet cafes, including many reports of increased crime such as prostitution, drug trafficking, and violence.



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Some Ohio Internet Cafes Will Re-Open With New Business Model Within Weeks


“The new law has restricted our sweepstakes rooms but we do have options to keep our doors open and pay our bills” — Happy Patel, Parlor Owner.

Columbus, Ohio –  A software and Internet service company that provides services  to dozens of parlors in the state canceled its contracts with those sites just before the new law went into effect Friday.

 Another provider agreed to stop doing business in Ohio in a plea deal settling a gambling case. Gov. John Kasich in June signed the new

Governor Signed HB-7 Into Law

restrictions  at Internet cafés, which law enforcement officials believe have been used for illegal gambling operations.

There are over 600 Internet cafés that operate in Ohio, representing growing competition to legalized casinos and charity games.

Opponents of the ban failed this week in their effort to pursue a ballot repeal due to a lack of signatures.

VS2 Worldwide Communication, a provider to 45 Internet cafés, agreed to pull out of the state in a plea deal with

VS2 Agreed To Stop Operations In Ohio ALong With Sealed Plea Deal

the Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s office, the newspaper said. The companies owners were scheduled to begin trial next week in Cleveland on numerous charges.

Meanwhile, a pair of Internet Cafés in Columbus were shuttered with signs on their front door that read “Software Upgrade Re-Opening Soon”

Attorney General Mike DeWine, the lead critic of the sweepstakes cafes, has promised to enforce the new regulations limiting payouts right upgrade sign

DeWine is notifying county sheriffs and Internet-café owners about the new requirements, which includes a $10 limit on the value of prizes and bans on cash prizes.

Opponents of the crackdown say the law went too far by limiting activity at the parlors, many of which they describe as mom-and-pop operations that provide jobs in local communities.

Legal Challenge To HB-7 Is Expected Within Weeks

The law is predicted to be challenged in court and a long and legal battle is expected.



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Authorities In Florida Address Concerns About Internet Cafes


They are called internet cafes, gaming facilities and sweepstake cafes, yet now law enforcement has labled them more

Lucky Sampson’s Internet Cafe In Modena

plainly and specified. Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube pointed out, “We have a significant complication below,” while managing the board at a shop of such companies Tuesday. His concerns are the 24/7 gambling and the current robberies that have actually occurred within, as well as out in the car parking lot. Steube wishes the BOCC to embrace a statute that can be implemented by the county’s code enforcement. Commissioners claim ‘not so fast.’.

Sgt. Jason Powell heads the Internet Unit for the Manatee Sheriff’s Office (MSO). Powell advised the commission of the 2006 operation named “No Dice,” where 16 such places were robbed, and 33 machines confiscated, together with $ 35,647 and 500 Visa gift cards. 60 charges were claimed operating a gambling house. The fees were later on decreased to offenses and the battle to plainly determine simply what was going on in these “cafes” was on.

Powell stated that Sarasota likewise tried to cut just what both regions thought to be unlawful, yet discovered it tough to convict those operating them as a result of loopholes and just how the businesses were determined, adding, “Now, it is a various ball of wax.” The Florida State Legislature was expected to determine and resolve Internet Cafe’s future this previous session, but decided to wait. Now it appears that will not take place until the 2014 session at the earliest. Currently, there are 26 cafes in the region.

Sheriff Steube stated, “We have gotten 186 requests for a solution, for break-ins on site and break-ins in the vehicles. There is not a street without one.” Steube stated an automatic tool was utilized to rob all the individuals inside of one cafes.

“We arrested one in the group. We have not had any more, knock on wood,” claimed Steube. “They are breaching Florida Gaming law; Statute 849.094, however the state is not thinking about prosecution.”.

Commissioner Carol Whitmore reacted, “Then we do not prefer to be spinning our wheels here.” She added outside of these few altercations, “I have not become aware of any kind of complaints. Individuals that visit these cafes, are 21 years aged, and they are only gambling. It’s their cash.”.

Internet cafes look like bingo halls or the intent of Florida Statute 849.094– which are things like a McDonald’s give-away that need a purchase. These cafes only house a computer that is connected to the internet. Like a lottery ticket, the number that is provided to the purchaser, can easily be checked right away to see if it is a “winner.” When the card is acquired, the winner status has actually already been identified and they are then able to use their credit ratings on the gaming. Lawyers representing these cafes insist it is not gambling, however some regions disagree.

MSO representative Michelle Hall spoke of a regulation adopted by Seminole County that has discovered some success in the state’s 11th Judicial Circuit Court, which located the cafes’ methods to be “gaming.” But the choice was tested by Allied Veterans of the World Inc., a non-profit that operates at the very least 39 of the internet cafes in the state of Florida. There way too, enforcement is on hold.

Manatee Commissioners felt it would be prudent to wait until the law-makers makes a stand on the issue. Manatee’s lawful team had little to supply and like the commissioners, none of them had ever been in one of the cafes. The shop left off where it began, without a defined explanation to shut them down.



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Palm Beach Opens Doors For Sweepstakes Cafes


Palm Beach County prepares to drop its ban on new Internet cafes, also known as sweepstakes cafes, which permit casino-wp14style gaming without dealing with state gambling laws.

The county in March established a yearlong restriction on enabling even more of the fast-spreading, arcade-style facilities that have actually been emerging in shopping centers across South Florida.

The county’s short-term abeyance was planned to permit time to look at whether more neighborhood rules were required pertaining to where– and if– the well-liked gaming internet sites ought to be allowed.

However on Wednesday, the County Commission selected permitting the abeyance expire. As opposed to seeking an expansion this springtime, the Commission backed away from plans to develop additional local laws.

“I don’t think it’s a great use of team time to begin regulating these Internet Cafes,” Commission Chairman Steven Abrams stated.



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Lexington Municipality Approves Sweepstakes Fees


Sweepstakes owners will certainly need to pay up if they wish to run in Lexington.

Lexington City Council authorized new laws and fees for electronic gaming, or sweepstakes, companies throughout the city.

Council unanimously approved a resolution that will impose yearly charges of $ 1,000 per sweepstakes business, plus $ 500 every computer terminal inside.

Council additionally voted 5-3 on a different amendment to a city ruling that will certainly limit the number of sweepstakes companies allowed in the city to 6 establishments at any given time. The ordinance additionally asks for companies to have a minimum of 30 electronic sweepstakes computer terminals and a minimum building size of 2,000 square feet. New businesses will just be allowed in the business area, as reported by the statute.

City staff say the amended statute puts the city code more in line with what the state permits. The changed regulation additionally transforms the city’s strategy toward managing and collaborating with the businesses, pointed out Tammy Absher, the city’s director for business and society development.

“If we flip our approach and look at the total number of businesses across the city but don’t put limits on them, we could end up with nicer establishments with more investment opportunity,” Absher pointed out.

Currently, there are about five sweepstakes-related companies functioning legally in Lexington. Existing companies will certainly be grandfathered under the new ordinance and will be offered 1st priority at one of the six available company licenses, Absher said.

Councilmen Lewie Phillips, Frank Callicutt and Linwood Bunce dissented in the vote on the modified statute. While all three councilmen agreed with many of the modifications, they stated they thought the limit of six companies must be raised.

“I would definitely be in favor of bumping that number to 6, to 8, to maybe 10,” Phillips stated.

Bunce even motioned to send the modified ruling back to the planning board, to take into consideration raising the limit of 6 businesses at one time to eight. That motion failed.

Though the council voted in favor of the six-business limitation on Monday, the issue can be examined at a later date, stated Lexington Mayor Newell Clark.

Sweepstakes came to be a hot topic in North Carolina at the turn of the last decade. After the state prohibited video poker in 2007, entrepreneurs promptly knew they might dodge the state’s definition of gambling, and consequently keep their parlors open by offering Internet time, not wagers. Lots of metros, featuring Lexington, adopted initial regulations that aspired at keeping companies out.

North Carolina permitted a law in 2010 that attempted to ban sweepstakes. Nonetheless, previously this year, the N.C. Court of Appeals claimed that law violated the First Amendment. The N.C. Attorney General’s office has actually appealed the court’s decision; however, it seems sweepstakes are poised for a revival.

Absher claimed the city gets 3 to 4 requests from prospective sweepstakes managers each week. The city has actually also begun a waiting list for new companies.

Tom Carpenter, of Greensboro, resolved the council during the course of a public hearing on Monday evening, stating he represented a business that has around 25 sweepstakes businesses throughout the region. Carpenter said his business has actually considered launching numerous sweepstakes businesses in Lexington, featuring a proposed 4,900 square-foot company off of U.S. Highway 64.

Carpenter claimed he does not agree with the six-business restriction.

“Right now, there’s no reason to force these people to do any better. Until competition comes in, they have no reason to do any better than they are doing now,” Carpenter stated, adding that indications and low-cost seats are simply a couple of the issues at the existing sweepstakes companies. “It will never get any better until someone comes along and gets them to move a little bit.”

Danny Dagenhart, which functions Pot of Gold Sweepstakes No. 1 and No. 2 in Lexington, stated he believes the six-business limitation will definitely aid his company.

“What we’ve been told is that by limiting the number, it gives us the opportunity to limit the competition, so we can have a nicer place,” Dagenhart pointed out. “That’s part of our thinking. By limiting all these scattered places at gas stations and convenience stores, then we can generate more business and have a nicer place to play.”

It’s estimated there are in between 700 and 800 sweepstakes businesses operating in North Carolina, with a yearly earnings rising to $ 1 billion, according to the Internet-Based Sweepstakes Organization, which exemplifies numerous sweepstakes operations throughout the state.

There are more than a dozen sweepstakes companies throughout Davidson County. There are around six businesses running in Thomasville, which calls for sweepstakes companies to purchase a privilege license for $ 50 per year and pay $ 5 each gaming machine, up to $ 50. Davidson County does not have any certain regulations for sweepstakes companies, only zoning needs similar to most government bodies.

The law regulating sweepstakes says that if you offer a service or product, then you may promote it with a sweepstakes. That product, in the case of local sweepstakes affairs, is Internet time. When the consumer buys Internet time on a computer terminal at a business, they are automatically entered into a sweepstakes reward that is predisposed. Because they are not gambling any cash in the games they play, sweepstakes are not considered gambling by the state.



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Charitable Sweepstakes Increasing Charity Bottom Line


Internet sweepstakes cafes are “under siege from state and local authorities” throughout the country with prohibitions, cases or criminal grievances active or pending in approximately 20 states, as reported in a current entry in the Wall Street Journal.

The paper pointed out analysts have determined that the sweepstakes videogame business earns in total prior to expenditures may reach up to $ 13 billion solely in North Carolina.




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