INTERNET CAFE OPERATOR IN LITIGATION TO HALT DESTRUCTION OF SEIZED COMPUTERS
05th August, 2013 at 15:55:16
South San Francisco operator sues police department over 30 computers seized in online gambling raid
Ryker Amusements, the owner of the South San Francisco internet cafe Computer Time is suing the city and its police department in a bid to stop the destruction of 30 seized computers alleged to have used for illegal online gambling purposes.
The machines were seized by police over a month ago in an enforcement raid On June 26, which resulted in Ryker closing the business, and claims that the enforcement action was unjustified.
South San Francisco police recently gave Ryker notice it will destroy the devices 30 days from the date of notice, July 26.
The company's legal representative said this week: Our client is a law-abiding, good citizen. Two critical things are wrong - they weren't running an illegal lottery and they didn't have illegal slot materials.
To define a machine as an illegal slot machine, the legal representative said, it needs to have something of value put into it and have some element of chance that allows for random winners. None of these elements were present in the Computer Time operation, which was doing what companies like McDonald's have been doing in running sweepstakes programs.
However, South San Francisco police Sgt. Bruce McPhillips said gambling cases at internet cafes have been increasing.
As the Internet and government try to come to a median on what's legal or illegal, people are trying to push the envelope, McPhillips said. Until there's a bright line drawn, people will continue to push the envelope. We just started seeing these Internet cafes in the last two to three years.
The case is similar to that of a police bust in April this year, in which police raided The Hub and seized computers as part of a suspected illegal online gambling bust. The Hub filed a lawsuit against police and the city to bar the destruction of property as well.
According to San Bruno City Attorney Marc Zafferano, The Hub computer seizure complaint is pending since the criminal case is still underway and the computers were seized as part of a search warrant in the case.
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