Prosecutor: Sweepstakes café owners should 'seriously reconsider' any attempt to reopen

Prosecutor: Sweepstakes café owners should 'seriously reconsider' any attempt to reopen »Play Video
The Hot Spot Cyber Center in Bakersfield, Calif., is seen in a photo from police. The alleged sweepstakes cafe was raided by detectives Thursday, April 17, 2014.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Kern County authorities are warning sweepstakes café operators to keep their gaming businesses closed, even with modifications.

Those thinking of reopening should "seriously reconsider," according to Deputy District Attorney Greg Pulskamp. He said some operators have mistakenly come to believe that software or equipment changes could make their game offerings legal.

His comment Monday came just a few days after Bakersfield police raided an Internet café operating on Oak Street.

Internet cafés were ordered last month to stop running sweepstakes games. The District Attorney's Office won a ruling at the appeals court level, affirming a previous Kern County Superior Court ruling that found the operations amounted to illegal gambling.

Despite the county's order to stop gaming operations, owners of Hot Spot Cyber Center reopened last week with new gaming software and claimed they thought it was legal.

Pulskamp on Monday reiterated that his office intends to follow up "aggressively" on this issue, even if the café owners incorporate new equipment or software.

Meanwhile, the deputy district attorney said an attorney for some of the cafés has petitioned the California Supreme Court to review the legality of the sweepstakes operations. Pulskamp said he hasn't heard if the state's high court will take up the issue.