HAYWARD (KCBS) – The Hayward City Council has voted unanimously to put a pair of Internet cafes on notice to cease operations immediately, claiming they are illegal and a front for online gambling.

I Biz, with it’s silver-tinted windows, was closed on Wednesday. Just a few blocks away, Net Connection, across from Hayward City Hall, remained open.

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Hayward City Attorney Michael Lawson said that nearly everything about both businesses violates state law.

“It’s a concern because these facilities are not enhancing commercial centers or the downtown,” said Lawson. “It’s important that businesses add to the vitality of the downtown area and that’s one of the things the moratorium will allow us to look at more carefully.”

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According to city officials, the Internet “sweepstakes” cafes or parlors allow patrons to purchase time on computers, which they use for sweepstakes and Las Vegas-style gambling.

But the operators of the businesses claim they’re legitimate.

The moratorium will allow city officials to review whether they need to revise zoning regulations or municipal codes to address the cafes.

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