Bakersfield police raid suspected sweepstakes cafe

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) Police detectives raided a suspected sweepstakes caf Thursday, seizing 45 computers, two computer servers and more than $3,000.

Internet cafes have been ordered to stop running sweepstakes games. The Kern County District Attorney's Office won a ruling at the appeals court level, affirming a previous Kern County Superior Court ruling that found the operations amounted to illegal gambling.

Police said Hot Spot Cyber Center at 714 Oak St. reopened Tuesday, and officers "began receiving complaints from neighboring businesses almost immediately."

Sgt. Joe Grubbs said operators of the Hot Spot reopened with new gaming software, claiming they thought it was legal.

"Their belief was that it was legal, because they were using a different sweepstakes system," Grubbs said. "Our understanding of what the courts have said is that sweepstakes are illegal, they are gaming, and gaming is illegal in California."

The evidence seized Thursday will be used to make a case for the District Attorney's Office, police said. No arrests have been made.

One worker and five customers were at Hot Spot Cyber Center when detectives arrived.