Tag Archives: blue diamond sweepstakes

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 away.software 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.