(Editor's note: The following information was submitted by the office of
State Rep. James Miceli (D-Wilmington) joined his colleagues in the Legislature in sending a final bill to the governor that will ban illegal gambling activities at “cyber cafés” throughout Massachusetts.
“Cyber Cafés of this type have caused problems in the past and this is one way to protect the public,” said Representative Miceli.
“Cyber Cafés” sell internet time in which patrons can play online slots and other games on the premises. Patrons can then win “points” in the video games which can then be redeemed for cash at the “cyber café”. Past investigations by Attorney General Martha Coakley, have revealed that “cyber cafés” can offer illegal online gambling through the sale of internet access. Although the Attorney General is curbing this behavior through regulation, this legislation is intended to further protect interests of consumers across the Commonwealth with respect to the “cyber cafés“.
This bill establishes a new crime of “conducting or promoting a sweepstakes that is executed through the use of the entertaining display of an electronic machine.” Failure to comply would result in a penalty of up to $250,000 per offending machine and/or imprisonment of up to 15 years in the state prison. However, the state lottery, pari-mutuel wagering on horse races, bingo and charitable gaming, are exempt.