Massachusetts attorney general office filed emergency regulations Wednesday declaring illegal gambling at cyber cafes and “phone-card“ videogaming terminals statewide, The Telegram reported.
According to the attorney general office, establishments such as cyber cafes sell Internet time or phone cards as a pretext for criminal online gambling. Customers at cyber cafes pay to gamble on a computer, usually playing a video slot machine or similar game. Phone-card gaming terminals are located in convenience stores, and customers buy a phone card to gamble on one of the videogaming machines. At both types of establishments, winners walk out with cash.
The goal of the new regulations is to protect consumers from being swindled, Attorney General Martha Coakley told The Telegram.
“These cyber cafes are really cyber scams with no posted odds, minimum odds, or guarantee of payouts for patrons,” she said. “With these regulations, we are making clear that such gambling operations at “˜cyber cafes’ and “˜phone card videogaming terminals’ are illegal.“
The attorney general’s office said the regulations filed are designed to spell out the laws on illegal gambling. According to the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, it is “unfair or deceptive“ to engage in transactions where gambling predominates the sale of legitimate goods and services, The Telegram reported.