Re: “Internet gambling? ‘Cybercafes’ face uncertain future,” April 29 news story.
We applaud Rep. Polly Lawrence’s legislation to crack down on Internet sweepstakes cafes that operate a $10 billion illegal industry in storefronts, gas stations or convenience stores nationwide.
The approximately 5,000 illegal sweepstakes cafe operators in Colorado and around the country elude licensing, criminal background checks and other safeguards required of legitimate gaming operators to ensure the integrity of games and prevent the participation of minors.
Furthermore, these illegal gambling businesses threaten to undermine Colorado’s legitimate gaming operators because they pay zero gaming taxes, yet siphon gaming revenue from regulated casinos. As a result, the state loses tax revenues intended to support critical public education, health and social programs.
Rep. Lawrence’s bipartisan bill will rightly outlaw Internet sweepstakes cafes and protect consumers, legitimate gaming businesses and the vital tax revenues they generate.
Geoff Freeman, Washington, D.C.
The writer is president and CEO of the American Gaming Association.