HAYWARD -- The city is cracking down on Internet "sweepstakes" cafes.

The cafes provide computer terminals that offer "sweepstakes" games, which are a form of illegal gambling, according to a staff report.

The City Council will consider an emergency ordinance on Tuesday that would prohibit any such cafes during a 45-day moratorium. The moratorium will give city staff members time to look at long-term recommendations, including possibly extending the moratorium or changing the city's zoning ordinance.

"This came on our radar screen a few weeks ago," said Hayward City Attorney Michael Lawson.

Hayward had three such cafes, according to the report: Worldnet Business Center, 22620 Vermont St.; Net Connection, 778 B St.; and I Biz, 22466 Maple Court. All three opened within the past year.

After the city received reports of online gambling at the three locations, Hayward staff members sent letters earlier this month ordering them to shut down the sweepstakes computers, which are considered illegal slot machines and other types of gambling prohibited by state law. Worldnet has since closed.

The state Bureau of Gambling Control has declared the Internet cafes illegal gambling operations. And Alameda County already has taken steps to start shutting down the Internet cafes in the unincorporated areas.

"They call themselves Internet cafes, but they are really online gambling establishments," Supervisor Wilma Chan said earlier.

The City Council will meet at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 777 B St.


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Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473, follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr1 or read her blog at www.ibabuzz.com/hayword.