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Issue Date: Vol. 53, No. 5, May 2013, Posted On: 5/13/2013

NY Operators Weigh In On Sweeps Cafés

Nick Montano
TAGS: City Councilman Jumaane Williams, sweepstakes cafés, Internet cafe, gambling arcades, illegal cash payout, illegal gambling, AMOA-NY, Amusement and Music Owners Association of New York, NYC Department of Consumer Affairs

NEW YORK CITY -- City Councilman Jumaane Williams is sponsoring a bill to shut down sweepstakes cafés that allow patrons to win and collect cash prizes while playing computer games. Authorities say there are at least a few dozen sweepstakes cafés that have popped up across New York City, mostly in Queens and Brooklyn. While it’s illegal for cafés and arcades to pay out cash winnings, politicians say enforcement in the city is lax.

The Amusement and Music Owners Association of New York has been asking the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs to inspect such locations that may be engaged in illegal gambling. AMOA-NY officials participated in a DCA committee hearing in April regarding gaming cafés. Williams' proposal seeks to amend the city's administrative code by making mandatory the revocation of arcade or gaming café licenses if one of those establishments were engaged in unlawful gambling.

“I’m hoping this bill will provide a hammer to bring [them] down," Williams said. "They are completely violating the law."

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