Wind Advisory issued March 10 at 12:05PM PDT expiring March 12 at 1:00PM PDT in effect for: Kern…
Internet, or sweepstakes cafes, work by selling internet time or prepaid phone cards, and purchasers have the opportunity to enroll in a sweepstakes, enabling them to win money or prizes.
Recently three Bakersfield residents claim they won over a thousand dollars playing a new Keno game at a cafe on Oak Street and California.
"I've gone to these places quite a bit and they always pay you your money right there and then. This is the first and only place I've gone to where they didn't want to pay," said Sherry Diaz.
Sherry said they were only paid $500 each. Store owners, who refused to comment on the situation, told Sherry the rest of her money could be collected at a later date.
A Bakersfield man who has worked for a different internet cafe on Oak street. says the cafes are good for the community, and often cannot pay the full amount at once.
"They can't pay out more than 200, 300, 500, each one has their own set amount. But they can't give you that in one whack. They don't have that kind of cash," said Philip Hamburg.
The deputy district attorney says these sweepstakes cafes are considered places to gamble, and are not regulated at all which is illegal in California.
"The law enforcement community in the entire state of California, pretty much the whole country, feels that they are illegal, and we intent to pursue that and are actively pursuing that," said Deputy District Attorney Greg Pulskamp.
The deputy district attorney added that they have not prosecuted customers of internet cafes, as most probably aren't aware that the businesses are illegal.
So far, prosecutors have worked to stop sweepstakes operations in about nine different locations in Bakersfield alone.