Kern County Internet gambling cafes ruled illegal

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The Kern County District Attorney’s Office has won a significant legal ruling in its effort to ban Internet gaming cafes. 

The 5th District Court of Appeal ruled Friday that such cafes violate state gambling laws.  

Read the ruling here.

The ruling determined the devices at the "sweepstakes cafes" were unlawful slot machines. The State Court of Appeals has given the green light to shut them down.

The District Attorney’s office held a news conference today to discuss the ruling.

"I would like to commend the District Attorney's office and everyone who has been fighting in the courts to stop these illegal gambling operations," said Assemblymember Rudy Salas in a statement Friday.

It was back in 2012 when the county shut down nine Internet gaming cafes, but attorney's for the businesses said they were providing legal entertainment.

Today the court ruled it is not entertainment, but illegal gambling.

"I am pleased the court ruled that Internet cafes are illegal and that closing them is a permitted course of action to protect local residents and businesses," said Councilman Russell Johnson in a statement. 

The District Attorney's office says they can now begin shutting these cafes down. No specific time frame for shutting them down was set, but they will begin working with law enforcement groups soon to figure out how to shut them down.

23ABC spoke to attorney's representing one of the cafe's and they say they will appeal this decision with the state Supreme Court.

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