SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Dozens of law enforcement investigators raided two Sacramento Internet cafes Tuesday morning and seized computers used for online gambling.

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department says gamblers were using computers with no keyboards. Instead, gamblers put money on a card, slide it through a slot on the machine and start gambling.

But gamblers hoping to hit a morning jackpot drew a bad hand Tuesday, finding themselves in the middle of a law enforcement raid.

“I didn’t think it was illegal,” one player said.

Law enforcement busted two south Sacramento internet cafes, Izone and Web Stop. The sheriff’s department says they’re fronts for illegal Internet gambling operations.

“If it was illegal, why was it opened so long?” one player wondered after the raid.

Gamblers say most nights the place is filled to capacity, every computer is in use.

“I thought it was a place that we could go, kill some time, have a hobby,” a playe named Darren said.

Ten gamblers were questioned and let go with a warning.

“I’m very greatly relieved to be leaving now,” one said.

Investigators are looking for the owners of both cafes and plan to arrest them.

The attorney representing the owner of Izone says the games are no different than a sweepstakes at McDonald’s.

“It’s really hard to discern under the law, under anybody’s interpretation of the current laws in California or any other state, whether this is gambling or not,” Mark Reichel said.

But sheriff’s investigators say the businesses are illegal and bad for the neighborhood.

“What these establishments usually bring in is a lot of drugs, prostitution, and a lot of problems and complaints form business owners and residents,” Sgt. Ray Duncan said.

The sheriff’s department has made one arrest so far from Tuesday’s raids. Thomas Kimble, 54, has been charged with a misdemeanor unlawful possession of a slot machine. Investigators also confiscated $10,000 in cash and dozens of computers.


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