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Salas Bill to Fight Illegal Sweepstakes Gambling Cafes

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Cafes a threat to public safety, local businesses

BAKERSFIELD – Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) announced today that he has introduced Assembly Bill 1439 to fight the rising number of illegal sweepstakes gambling cafes proliferating in the City of Bakersfield and throughout the state.

“Illegal sweepstakes gambling cafes are a threat to both public safety and local business,” said Assemblymember 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.”

In partnership with the Department of Justice (DOJ), the FBI, local governments, law enforcement, and local businesses, Assemblymember Rudy Salas’ bill closes a loophole in the law that will clearly define the illegality of gambling 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.

Local business owners have voiced concern about the negative consequences of these cafes, including many reports of increased crime such as prostitution, drug trafficking, and violence. In December 2013, the Bakersfield Police Department found methamphetamine and a large amount of cash at one of these establishments. As a result, nearby businesses are hurting as their customers seek to avoid the crowds and crime that such cafes attract.

“These gambling cafes have caused problems throughout the Central Valley, Oakland, Los Angeles, Riverside, and throughout California,” continued Salas.  “We can’t afford to allow them to keep operating outside the reach of the law.”
The pattern of these businesses has been to establish themselves in an economically depressed area and accrue hundreds of thousands of dollars through illegal sweepstakes gambling.

Assemblymember Salas represents part of the City of Bakersfield, the cities of Arvin, Avenal, Corcoran, Delano, Hanford, Lemoore, McFarland, Shafter, Wasco, and the communities of Armona, Buttonwillow, Home Garden, Kettleman City, Lamont, Lost Hills, Stratford and Weedpatch.

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