Oakland, CA – Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker has filed a Red Light Abatement Action and Civil Nuisance Action to shut down an illegal gambling establishment located at 2701 Fruitvale Avenue.
Lucky Strike Electronics essentially has operated as a small casino at this Fruitvale location, with patrons paying the “house” to use computers for illegal gambling purposes.
“Small businesses are driving the resurgence of Oakland’s economy, however, gambling businesses like Lucky Strike Electronics only deprive working families of resources and harm the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” City Attorney Parker said.
Lucky Strike is one of a number of “internet sweepstakes cafes” that have cropped up in Oakland and throughout the country in recent years. Customers supposedly pay to use computers for business, communication or other purposes, but in reality the computers are used as slot machines or to play other games of chance. The business functions like a casino, with customers paying the house up front to gamble, and then receiving their “winnings” from a cashier when they are done.
Both the property owner and the operator of the business are named as defendants in the City Attorney’s lawsuit.
In 2014, the City Council passed an ordinance specifically prohibiting “sweepstakes” programs that serve as covers for illegal gambling and the other crimes that often are associated with it, including check and credit card fraud, loan sharking, robbery and money laundering.
The City has shut down other gambling locations, including another business that Lucky Strike operated, by issuing administrative citations and working with landlords to remove the nuisance activity. In this case, the owners of the property did not respond to the City’s citation.
On January 16, after the City Attorney’s Code Enforcement Unit filed the lawsuit, the Oakland Police Department raided the business and seized computers and other equipment used for the gambling operation. Gambling activity at the site ceased after the seizure of the equipment.
The lawsuit seeks a court order preventing further nuisance activity at the location. It also asks for civil penalties of $25,000 from each defendant, plus $1,000 for each day that nuisance activity continued at the property after the initial occurrence of illegal gambling.