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|County: Online Gambling Centers Must Shut Down|
|Wednesday, 30 January 2013 08:26|
Five internet gaming centers including this one on Castro Valley Blvd. have received cease and desist orders from Alameda County as a result of the state Bureau of Gambling Control deeming them illegal
By Robert Souza
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM
Five Internet gambling “cafes” in the county could be forced to close soon as a result of a state declaration they are illegal gambling operations.
One is located on Castro Valley Blvd., two are in San Lorenzo, and two others are in unincorporated Hayward.
Bearing business names such as “Net Connection” and advertising “Internet, copy, scan and fax services,” the businesses sell Internet time to access online sweepstakes games that can result in cash winnings.
The operations have been subjects of complaint to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office over issues of loitering, parking problems and suspected drug use.
Last Saturday night, a handful of customers seated at terminals were being watched over by a security guard at the Internet Cafe at 2584 Castro Valley Blvd. An employee told the Forum their staff works closely with law enforcement on neighborhood issues and upkeep, and that they have no plans to close.
California Bureau of Gambling Control officials issued an advisory to law enforcement agencies last month deeming sweepstakes centers illegal and offered to aid local law enforcement agencies to close them down.
Last October, Alameda County officials issued a moratorium on the centers as they began drafting an ordinance to limit and regulate them. That process has been abandoned now that the county is pursuing closures.
County officials have issued cease and desist letters to all five locations. Each of the businesses can appeal to the county and go through a hearing process.