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San Bruno Police Raid Online 'Sweepstakes' Shop That Would Be Non-Criminal In Castro Valley

What's up with places that rent time to play Internet 'sweepstakes' that state authorities consider illegal gambling? Depends on which law enforcement agency is asked.

 

On Wednesday San Bruno police raided The Hub, a well-known Internet "sweepstakes" room, made five arrests and confiscated several computers that police believe were used for illegal gambling.

Local police were joined by members of the San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force and the California Department of Justice's Division of Gambling.

San Bruno police say they acted after receiving numerous complaints about illegal gambling at the business as well as drug use and drug sales in and around the business.

But Alameda County authorities have taken a different, non-criminal approach to Internet sweepstake stores in Castro Valley and San Lorenzo.

As Patch has reported, Alameda County officials have ordered four local Internet cafes that offered sweepstakes to "cease and desist operations" -- without making any judgement about the legal status of the games.

Instead, county code enforcement officer Tona Henninger said these orders were issued under the nuisance provisions of the zoning ordinance based on complaints of noise, late night gatherings and similar annoyances.

The Bureau of Gambling Control at the state Department of Justice has said that it "considers Internet cafés that offer these types of sweepstakes to be illegal gambling operations."

But as Patch reported recently, state authorities have left it up to their local counterparts  how -- or whether -- to deal with such shops in their jurisdiction.

"Some (localities) choose to go after them administratively, some choose criminal prosecution, and some do nothing at all (generally in fear of being sued)," a state Department of Justice spokesman told Patch. 

What do you think: is the Alameda County approach too much, too little or just right?

hayward dude April 21, 2013 at 02:06 AM
go fight crime.sweepstakes hardly a crime
MICHELLE CLOWSER April 27, 2013 at 11:48 PM
In San Lorenzo, we were duped into thinking that these locations were actually internet cafes. What drew our attention to them, however, was the illegal element that these locations seemed to attract. San Lorenzo had an increase in drug arrests, fights, middle of the night 911 calls all because the people who used these establishments, the people who ran them, and the so-called security guards who stood outside, or ran through the parking lot at times, filtered out into the parking lot, making life in San Lorenzo unsafe. There were weapons and drug arrests galore, every night. Crime increased tremenedously when they were open. Whether the government wanted to call them gambling or a nuisance, it doesn't really matter. After many meetings on the subject with both the San Lorenzo Homes' Association and the County, I am glad that we could cooperatively do something to resolve this problem. I applaud the Alameda County Sheriff's Deparatment, especially those who patrol San Lorenzo, for their tireless efforts at trying to keep San Lorenzo safe, especially when these establishements were open for business. They are now closed, and life is much better in the San Lorenzo community.
Ken Briggs April 28, 2013 at 02:25 AM
the police do a hell of a great job , itis the courts that needs to make sure these places stay closed

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