VACAVILLE — The City Council is set to revisit the issue of new Internet cafes in Vacaville when the council meets this week.
The meeting is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the City Council Chambers, 650 Merchant St.
Council members at their most-recent meeting approved an urgency ordinance to block any new Internet cafes that offer sweepstakes-style gaming. The initial ban was for 45 days. State law allows the city to extend it to two years with a four-fifths vote of the council.
The council heard a report at the Nov. 12 meeting from police Lt. John Carli about his department’s investigation into the Talk ‘n’ Win Internet cafe at 127 Peabody Road in the Vaca Village shopping center.
Carli presented the results of the investigation and Talk n’ Win’s 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.
Carli also noted that customers need not make any purchase, that the business gives away up to 100 credits a day per customer to play for free. Carli cited comments from the state Attorney General’s Office that Internet cafes that operate these sweepstakes games, offering prize money, can – in certain situations – constitute illegal gambling.
“We’ve had a significant increase in criminal activity since this business opened,” Carli told the council at the Nov. 12 meeting, citing the 104 calls for service at the business from April to October. In the same time period, the city received 375 calls from businesses within 500 feet of Talk n’ Win, compared to 220 incidents in the six months prior to the business opening.
Those calls included reports of thefts, verbal and physical fights, drug sales and use, vandalism, loitering, disturbances and robberies.
That information prompted the council to act to ban similar businesses until a more permanent solution can be found.
Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.