Michigan

LANSING, MI — Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced on April 17 that the state’s Alcohol & Gambling Enforcement Division had issued formal “cease and desist” letters to three Internet sweepstakes gaming locations, declaring them illegal gambling operations.

They are located in the central Michigan towns of Holt, Lansing and Flint. The letters come as the result of an ongoing investigation by the Michigan State Police, the Michigan Gaming Control Board and the Attorney General’s office. Schuette said his office will continue to work with authorities to shut down any sweepstakes venue where evidence of illegal gambling is found.

Michigan has a large industry of legalized gambling, which means the state also has a significant tax base to protect from unwanted competition. The state permits pari-mutuel horse racing, bingo, a state-sponsored lottery, certain charity events and casino gambling.

Michigan Attorney General Press Release

Seminole County, Florida

Internet Cafes in Seminole County are being fined – Federal Court refuses protection.

The owners of the seven Internet cafes in Seminole have been cited for violating the county ordinance, and could be fined as much as $300 a day for each machine.

Read the Orlando Sentinel Article

Palm Harbor, Florida

Warrant issued for owner of Palm Harbor sweepstakes cafe

By Peter Jamison, Times Staff Write

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has issued an arrest warrant for the owner of an Internet cafe in Palm Harbor that detectives say was a front for an illegal gambling parlor.

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Tampa, Florida

A Federal judge in Tampa refused to extend First Amendment protection to Internet Cafes to protect them from gambling prosecution under Florida laws.

In an April 17, 2012 order, Federal Judge Kovachevich of the Tampa Division of Middle District has concurred with federal Judge Antoon (who had ruled similarly against the Allied Veterans operators of internet cafes in a lawsuit against Seminole County, Florida) and ruled:

Any potential enforcement of Florida’s gambling laws pursued by Defendants [the Sheriff of Pinellas County] here restricts conduct, not speech. The state of Florida is merely investigating a potential violation of its gambling laws. In that regard, the instant case is simply beyond the pale of the First Amendment’s protection.

Judge Kovachevich’s Opinion

Oceanside, California

Oceanside police and agents from the state Department of Justice raided Lucky Bob’s Internet Cafe

San Diego Criminal Atty

Arkansas

Arkansas Supreme Court Opinion approving denial of injunction to Internet Sweepstakes Cafes. This leaves the operators of the sweepstakes gambling businesses subject to arrest and prosecution.

Arkansas Supreme Court approves Denial of Injunction to protect Internet Sweepstakes machine cafes. This leaves the operators of the sweepstakes gambling businesses subject to arrest and prosecution.

Arkansas Supreme Court Opinion

Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation

The Florida state agency that is responsible for regulating gambling has issued a ruling that sweepstakes machines are “slot machines” and, accordingly, not authorized to be in a Pari-mutuel facility in Palm Beach county.

The Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) stated that. “This letter constiutes final agency action.” That will allow for the filing of a petition for an administrative hearing.

Cleveland, Ohio

A Cleveland Municipal Court jury has convicted six people on gambling charges involving Internet sweepstakes businesses.

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Georgia

Georgia Authorities Shut Down $3 Million Online Gambling Operation

Internet cafes have become a popular target for authorities around the US over the past five years. The cafes usually allow customers to purchase time on calling cards, and then use the credit card-like cards to play slot games on computers located inside the business.

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