Hayward Becomes Latest To Crack Down On Internet Sweepstakes Businesses

HAYWARD CITY COUNCIL | Ron Doyle’s Internet café is located in the shadows of Hayward City Hall, but the owner says those inside are doing more than hovering over his business. A countywide bid to shut down businesses like Doyle’s that offer Internet sweepstakes has been simmering for months with emergency ordinances popping up from the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to San Leandro.

This week the Hayward City Council unanimously approved a 45-day moratorium on extending business license to operators offering these types of gaming services after the state Attorney General’s office issued an alert over its illegality.

“We conduct our businesses legitimately, legally, we don’t break any laws,” said Doyle, owner of Net Connection at 778 B Street. “I resent that fact I’m being told I’m doing something illegal when I’m not.”

Doyle owns a similar establishment in unincorporated San Lorenzo also under threat of closure by the county. “You guys are being lied to, being exaggerated to,” said Doyle in comments directed at city staff. “This is America. I went to war to protect us from tyrants and that’s what they are doing. They’re trying to bully us. We’ve done nothing wrong and I resent the fact they want to shut us down.”

Councilmembers Barbara Halliday and Mark Salinas, however, said in the last week they made trips to Doyle’s business and found what they believe is evidence of gambling. Halliday said she saw Vegas-style games like Blackjack on computer screens. “If people are not going in there to play theses games, then what exactly are you selling?” asked Halliday.

Customers purchase time to connect to the Web, said Doyle, along with the ability to play games. However, he says they are not games of chance, but have pre-determined results no different than the popular Monopoly game at McDonald’s where customers peel off game pieces from cups for a chance to win prizes. Halliday countered saying the public library located nearby offers free Internet service.

Salinas said he also swung by Doyle’s Net Connection recently and reported every computer screen featured “card games.” “Why is there a need for a bouncer and security guard if it’s an Internet services business?” Like any other business, Doyle contended, he says security guards are needed to keep “riff raff” from coming inside.

“I know the gentleman believes he’s running a legitimate business, but this is not the type of business we want in Hayward,” Halliday later said. “Nobody is demanding more internet gambling. I have not heard one person say this.”

Nevertheless, Doyle says the city is erroneously lumping him together with other Internet café businesses he admits break the law, but he is not one of them. “Some people when they see a pretty girl walking down the street think she’s a prostitute,” Doyle colorfully said. “Yeah, some of the girls walking down the streets are prostitutes, but not every girl is a prostitute. We are not the kind of organization that they are talking about. We do not do the things they are saying in here.”

Although city staff had defined the proposed moratorium to prohibit new Internet cafes in the city with four or more terminals, Councilman Greg Jones moved to further tighten the measure. “I’m not sure it’s restrictive enough,” said the former Hayward city manager. “They way it is defined, it could be circumvented.” City Attorney Michael Lawson agreed, yet added, the moratorium could be tweaked after the initial 45 days. “I think we’re leaving the door open for the next 45 days,” Jones cautioned. The council agreed and moved to lower the number to a single computer.

11 thoughts on “Hayward Becomes Latest To Crack Down On Internet Sweepstakes Businesses

  1. My husband and i used to play gold fusion games.. its been a while, they're shutting down internet cafes.. i hope there are still places nearby that have these games. We are just trying to live a normal life and be happy.. now they took away our enjoyment.. so devastating..


  2. Really what is the problem here? Why do these so called public SERVANTS think it is their job to rule over people and tell them what they can and can't do? They are to the point of dictating what size bush you can have, how much it has to cost, where you will be allowed to put it and who you can have to dig the hole and plant it BUT not before you pay a permit fee, a plan review fee, inspection fee, order & pay for environmental impact report fees and project completion permit fee and it must be completed within 1 year all pending if they, they being the City council who is being advised by the 5 or 6 appointed advisory committee board members feels like not approving your application for 5 feet high bushes because the rule is they have to be 4ft 5 inches! Do you get my point yet? They are out of control! I challenge anyone who disagrees with me to go and read the city codes & zoning ordinances and then come back and let me know what you think!!!


  3. Let them be open…so what if people gamble..it's up to them!it's good business for everyone…


  4. It's a shame to worry about a place that's providing jobs for people and try to close it down. I don't like tatoo parlors and things they cater to pirates, ex-cons and pirates but should they be shut down based on my likes? How about bars? I don't like drunk people in my area and it's illegal to be drunk in public too…..so the minute they come outside the bar…… I don't like the quick stop market close to me. Lots of customers comign and going at all hours and buying beer, cigarettes and lottery tickets in addition to some homeless loitering around the place…. can we shut everything down?


  5. By MW:

    Since Ron Doyle says he wants to keep the riff raff from coming inside, does that not mean he is discriminating against the riff raff!!

    In general you are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of such characteristics as gender and race, etc, and I think it should also be illegal to discriminate on the basis of riff raffishness, and also including since if we try to intimidate and/or keep out the riff raff, then we will probably eventually have a lot less politicians visiting and hanging around the neighborhood.

    In fact speaking of riff raff, a few decades ago I worked in a buiding in which the last name of one of the security guards was Rafferty, but not even once did I ever see him walk outside the building. And his girlfriend, and who also worked as a security guard at that building, and who also worked inside rather than outside, was definitely riff raff. In fact, she was always trying to get him to smoke pot with her. So if they had gotten married and he had also agreed to join her in smoking pot, would they have been Mr. and Mrs. Riff Rafferty?


  6. Is this guy for real? He's swindling retards out of their money, and he wonders why a shit storm has befallen him? I mean seriously, he gets up in front of Council and tells the world his games are rigged. The game that's selected or the cards that are chosen are irrelevant. The outcome is predetermined the minute the customer is issued a terminal card, which doesn't require purchase. So what are people buying? Internet time? Oh please. Downtown Hayward is a free Wi-Fi hotspot and free terminals are at the library not more than a block away. Either this guy's the Pied Piper of dumb-asses or the business is an illegal front–probably both.


  7. To refer to those who patronize these places as low class would be a gracious compliment.

    As the city's security guard, the Council is acting to keep these riff raff out.


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