Internet Sweepstakes Cafes Blog

Your source for current news about internet sweepstakes cafes!

Internet Sweepstakes Cafes Blog - Your source for current news about internet sweepstakes cafes!

Internet sweepstakes cafe Owner wants to be ‘Cheers’ of business world

BURTON, MI — John Cofhlin III said a new internet café he’s opening in Burton will provide a service for residents and a place for them to congregate in the neighborhood.

His application to open the new business at the corner of Fenton and Maple roads in one of two suites was recently approved by the city’s planning commission.

The cafe is the first Cofhlin has opened in Michigan. After 18 years in the gaming business, in 2002  he began opening arcades and internet sweepstakes cafés in Florida and Georgia.

“I heard it was a new territory and I came up here,” said Cofhlin, noting a saturated market in Ohio while other markets such as Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and California are noticing an increase in business.

“The fact that there were some players up here already was plus.”

Cofhlin said patrons at the new café purchase phone cards, with sweepstakes points coming with the purchase of the cards — much like businesses such as McDonald’s offering game pieces during a promotional period.

Patrons may then either swipe their cards at a front counter to see if they were a predetermined winner or check by swiping their card on an available computer terminal where they can play games strictly for entertainment purposes, Cofhlin said, or search the web.

Burton Mayor Paula Zelenko said “The gaming aspect is a grey area” in terms of the cafés, said Burton Mayor Paula Zelenko. Flint Business Center in Flint recently closed after receiving a cease and desist letter from the state Attorney General’s Office.

“You can’t deny it with a lack of attorney general’s opinion,” she said, while noting planning commission members are tasked with regulating zoning parameters and not the legality of businesses.

Cofhlin said he’s providing a tangible, taxable product by selling phone cards, and hopes it will bring some economic boost to the area.

“It’s hopefully bringing some vitality into a depressed area, such as Flint,” he said, stating as many as six local people would be hired to work at the facility when it opens, including police officers for security purposes.

Once equipment is in place, Cofhlin hopes to open by the first week of June with an inviting atmosphere for residents.

“I want a business for the community where people can come in and socialize. You see a lot of the same faces every day with first-rate customer service,” he said. “I’m trying to be the Cheers of the business world.”

Michigan Internet Sweepstakes Cafe Attorney Contends They Are Legal

LANSING, MI — An attorney for an Internet sweepstakes café company contends his client’s operations are legal, contrary to Attorney General Bill Schuette’s determination.

Eight Internet sweepstakes cafes in Michigan agreed to close in light of an investigation by the Michigan State Police, the Michigan Gaming Control Board and the attorney general’s office.

Schuette said the cafes, which sell Internet access to play casino-style computer games for cash prizes, are “unregulated pop-up casinos.”

Innovative Entertainment of Michigan, which provides the software to the cafes, opted to close them after three of the cafes received cease and desist letters that warned of possible legal action.

“We do not agree with the attorney general about the applicability of the lottery statute to these operations, and we’re weighing our options for how best to proceed,” said Tony Edwards, a Minneapolis attorney representing Innovative Entertainment of Michigan.

Before launching operations in the state, the company hired a respected gaming lawyer in Michigan who concluded that their cafes were legal, Edwards said.

“Prior to receiving these cease and desist letters from the attorney general, my client certainly had no basis to believe any of this would be unlawful,” he said.

According to the attorney general’s office, the only gambling allowed under state law includes certain “horse racing, bingo, the state-sponsored lottery, certain charity events and casino gambling licensed under the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act.”