VACAVILLE — The City Council on Tuesday renewed its ban in Internet cafes that offer sweepstakes gaming.
Action was needed to keep an emergency ban, passed Nov. 12, in place. The initial ban was for 45 days. State law provides for an urgency ordinance to be renewed for an additional 22 months and 15 days, bringing the total to two years.
That allows the city time to come up with options for dealing with businesses of this nature.
The ordinance came in response to a report from the Vacaville Police Department dealing with the Talk ‘n’ Win Internet cafe at 127 Peabody Road in the Vaca Village shopping center.
Police Lt. John Carli updated his previous report on the business and its operation of selling time on prepaid phone cards and then allowing customers to use corresponding points in casino-style gaming on the computers for sweepstakes prizes.
Talk ‘n’ Win has generated numerous police responses for reports of thefts, verbal and physical fights, drug sales and use, vandalism, loitering, disturbances and robberies, police said.
Carli told the council Tuesday that Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley, has agreed to take up the issue when the state Legislature reconvenes in January.
The California Police Chiefs’ Association also added the issue to its legislative agenda, Carli said, showing that the issue is not unique to Vacaville. The city is also working with the District Attorney’s Office to see what can be done to deal with the existing business.
“This applies to new businesses, the existing one continues to operate,” Councilman Curtis Hunt said.
City Manager Laura Kuhn said the city’s options are limited for the moment.
“We don’t have any indication of the best approach yet,” Kuhn said.
Vice Mayor Dilenna Harris called the business’ tactics a “bait and switch.”
“The owner presented it as something totally different from what it was,” she said.
Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.