Get Adobe Flash player

Internet Cafe

The @ Cafe was one of New York City’s first internet cafes, and though it didn’t last long, its story shows what it felt like when the internet was first bubbling into the public consciousness. Started in 1995 (and shuttered in 1996), it was as electrifying and frustrating an experience as the internet itself.

Glenn McGinnis knows that better than anybody — he was one of the co-founders of the cafe. Today, he runs a company that provides IT services for small businesses, but in 1995, he was recently out of college and excited about a dream to bring the internet to the masses.

It was an auspicious time to be online. Just 14 percent of Americans used the internet, which lent @ Cafe an air of excitement and mystery. The cafe earned copious free press and became, in its own way, a flashpoint for how people thought about the web.

At some points, McGinnis felt like he was just along for the ride. But as the above video shows, he knew one thing from the beginning: "How fast it was going to hit."

Article source: http://www.vox.com/2016/8/24/12593214/internet-cafe-history

GLENDALE, AZ - The Arizona Department of Gaming says the internet cafe Mega Byte has been closed in Glendale, and several people associated with the business have been arrested for running an illegal gambling ring.

The department says customers at the cafe near 59th and Missouri avenues were allowed to pay cash at the cafe and were then set up to play casino style games at different computer terminals.

Glendale police were involved in the investigation as well, which took several months to unfold. Undercover officers were also involved in the case.

Police and members of the Arizona Department of Gaming served a search warrant at the cafe on August 24.

Bethany Ann Graham, 26, was arrested on multiple charges after officers identified her as working in the back of the facility. Police say Graham handled cash transactions from customers in exchange for customers gaining access to the gambling sites on the computers.

Graham was in business with Jeremy Ramon Muniz, 29, who worked the front lobby of the business where he says he acted as security and documented anyone who entered and exited.

Graham and Muniz reportedly lived together. Their charges include operating an illegal gaming facility, promotion of illegal gambling and racketeering, possession of a gambling device, and possession of gambling records.

Investigators say operations like this often operate as a cash business in the middle of neighborhoods and can easily attract violence to the area.

The Department of Gaming says in partnership with local police departments, dozens of illegal gambling operations have been shut down this year.

To save articles or get newsletters, alerts or recommendations – all free.

Don't have an account yet?

Subscribed through iTunes and need an NYTimes.com account?
Learn more »

Need to connect your Home Delivery subscription to NYTimes.com?
Link your subscription »

To save articles or get newsletters, alerts or recommendations – all free.

Don't have an account yet?

Subscribed through iTunes and need an NYTimes.com account?
Learn more »

Need to connect your Home Delivery subscription to NYTimes.com?
Link your subscription »

LA PUENTE Sheriff’s deputies carried out a raid at an alleged illegal gambling house operating out of a La Puente internet cafe on Wednesday night, authorities said.

The bust took place about 8 p.m., when deputies showed up at PC TIME Internet Cafe, 1047 N. Hacienda Blvd., with a search warrant, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro said.

“When deputies gained access to the location, they detained over 15 patrons who were engaged in illegal gambling,” Cacheiro said.

Investigators arrested five alleged proprietors, described as Glendale residents, he said.

Twenty-five computers, other communications devices and cash were seized as part of the investigation, officials said.

The computers were running an online gambling program known as “Internet Sling 7,” Cacheiro said.

The complex gambling operation was “fortified” with security measures and surveillance cameras and catered only to a select clientele, he said.

Detectives launched their investigation in June, when authorities received anonymous complaints of illegal gambling at the establishment.

“During the investigation, deputies conducted surveillances and undercover investigations and determined that the business was utilized as an ‘Internet Gambling Café,’” according to the lieutenant.

The investigation is ongoing, he said. Detectives have identified other possible internet gambling houses in other cities.

Officials withheld the suspects’ identities Thursday as they continued pursuing leads, Cacheiro said.

Investigators additionally found the business was operating without a permit and in violation of city codes, he added.

Deputies from the La Puente Special Assignment Team, Major Crimes Bureau, Cyber/High Tech Crimes Bureau and Operation Safe Streets took part in the raid, Cacheiro said, along with California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials.

Code enforcement officials are handling the civil aspect of the case.

LA PUENTE Sheriff’s deputies carried out a raid at an alleged illegal gambling house operating out of a La Puente internet cafe on Wednesday night, authorities said.

The bust took place about 8 p.m., when deputies showed up at PC TIME Internet Cafe, 1047 N. Hacienda Blvd., with a search warrant, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro said.

“When deputies gained access to the location, they detained over 15 patrons who were engaged in illegal gambling,” Cacheiro said.

Investigators arrested five alleged proprietors, described as Glendale residents, he said.

Twenty-five computers, other communications devices and cash were seized as part of the investigation, officials said.

The computers were running an online gambling program known as “Internet Sling 7,” Cacheiro said.

The complex gambling operation was “fortified” with security measures and surveillance cameras and catered only to a select clientele, he said.

Detectives launched their investigation in June, when authorities received anonymous complaints of illegal gambling at the establishment.

“During the investigation, deputies conducted surveillances and undercover investigations and determined that the business was utilized as an ‘Internet Gambling Café,’” according to the lieutenant.

The investigation is ongoing, he said. Detectives have identified other possible internet gambling houses in other cities.

Officials withheld the suspects’ identities Thursday as they continued pursuing leads, Cacheiro said.

Investigators additionally found the business was operating without a permit and in violation of city codes, he added.

Deputies from the La Puente Special Assignment Team, Major Crimes Bureau, Cyber/High Tech Crimes Bureau and Operation Safe Streets took part in the raid, Cacheiro said, along with California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials.

Code enforcement officials are handling the civil aspect of the case.

LA PUENTE Sheriff’s deputies carried out a raid at an alleged illegal gambling house operating out of a La Puente internet cafe on Wednesday night, authorities said.

The bust took place about 8 p.m., when deputies showed up at PC TIME Internet Cafe, 1047 N. Hacienda Blvd., with a search warrant, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro said.

“When deputies gained access to the location, they detained over 15 patrons who were engaged in illegal gambling,” Cacheiro said.

Investigators arrested five alleged proprietors, described as Glendale residents, he said.

Twenty-five computers, other communications devices and cash were seized as part of the investigation, officials said.

The computers were running an online gambling program known as “Internet Sling 7,” Cacheiro said.

The complex gambling operation was “fortified” with security measures and surveillance cameras and catered only to a select clientele, he said.

Detectives launched their investigation in June, when authorities received anonymous complaints of illegal gambling at the establishment.

“During the investigation, deputies conducted surveillances and undercover investigations and determined that the business was utilized as an ‘Internet Gambling Café,’” according to the lieutenant.

The investigation is ongoing, he said. Detectives have identified other possible internet gambling houses in other cities.

Officials withheld the suspects’ identities Thursday as they continued pursuing leads, Cacheiro said.

Investigators additionally found the business was operating without a permit and in violation of city codes, he added.

Deputies from the La Puente Special Assignment Team, Major Crimes Bureau, Cyber/High Tech Crimes Bureau and Operation Safe Streets took part in the raid, Cacheiro said, along with California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials.

Code enforcement officials are handling the civil aspect of the case.

LA PUENTE Sheriff’s deputies carried out a raid at an alleged illegal gambling house operating out of a La Puente internet cafe on Wednesday night, authorities said.

The bust took place about 8 p.m., when deputies showed up at PC TIME Internet Cafe, 1047 N. Hacienda Blvd., with a search warrant, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro said.

“When deputies gained access to the location, they detained over 15 patrons who were engaged in illegal gambling,” Cacheiro said.

Investigators arrested five alleged proprietors, described as Glendale residents, he said.

Twenty-five computers, other communications devices and cash were seized as part of the investigation, officials said.

The computers were running an online gambling program known as “Internet Sling 7,” Cacheiro said.

The complex gambling operation was “fortified” with security measures and surveillance cameras and catered only to a select clientele, he said.

Detectives launched their investigation in June, when authorities received anonymous complaints of illegal gambling at the establishment.

“During the investigation, deputies conducted surveillances and undercover investigations and determined that the business was utilized as an ‘Internet Gambling Café,’” according to the lieutenant.

The investigation is ongoing, he said. Detectives have identified other possible internet gambling houses in other cities.

Officials withheld the suspects’ identities Thursday as they continued pursuing leads, Cacheiro said.

Investigators additionally found the business was operating without a permit and in violation of city codes, he added.

Deputies from the La Puente Special Assignment Team, Major Crimes Bureau, Cyber/High Tech Crimes Bureau and Operation Safe Streets took part in the raid, Cacheiro said, along with California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials.

Code enforcement officials are handling the civil aspect of the case.

LA PUENTE Sheriff’s deputies carried out a raid at an alleged illegal gambling house operating out of La Puente internet cafe on Wednesday night, authorities said.

The bust took place about 8 p.m., when deputies showed up at PC TIME Internet Cafe, 1047 N. Hacienda Blvd., with a search warrant, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro said.

“When deputies gained access to the location, they detained over 15 patrons who were engaged in illegal gambling,” Cacheiro said in a written statement.

Investigators arrested five alleged proprietors, described as Glendale residents, he said.

Twenty-five computers, other communications devices and cash were seized as part of the investigation.

The investigation began in June, when authorities received anonymous complaints of illegal gambling at the establishment, Cacheiro said.

“During the investigation, deputies conducted surveillances and undercover investigations and determined that the business was utilized as an ‘Internet Gambling Café,’” according to the lieutenant.

The investigation is ongoing, he said. Detectives have identified other possible internet gambling houses in other cities.

Investigators additionally found that the business was operating without a permit and in violation of city codes, he added.

Deputies from the La Puente Special Assignment Team, Major Crimes Bureau, Cyber/High Tech Crimes Bureau and Operation Safe Streets took part in the raid, Cacheiro said, along with California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials.

Code enforcement officials are handling the civil aspect of the case.

The Palms II filed a civil suit in December to prevent law enforcement from stepping in. Judge says games do fit definition of slot machines.

Games at a local internet cafe violate state laws against slot machines, a judge ruled this week. Should The Palms II re-open on State Route 200, the judge’s findings pave the way for law enforcement to step in.

The case in front of Circuit Judge Edward Scott fell in civil court rather than criminal court. It dates back to December 2015, when the State Attorney’s Office warned Palms owners in a letter that their games violated state laws. The letter continued to warn that owners risked arrest and forfeiture of their machines should the cafe continue to operate.

Cafe owners took the case to court. Arguing that their games were based on skill rather than luck, and therefore should not be considered slot machines, they sought an injunction against State Attorney Brad King and then-Sheriff Chris Blair (later adjusted to current Sheriff Emery Gainey). The injunction would have prevented law enforcement from interfering in their operations. Cafe owners simultaneously sought a declaratory judgement action that would have validated their games as legal under state law.

In an order granting summary judgement, Scott this week instead ruled in favor of King and Gainey.

The Palms II has been closed since December, according to Justin Kaplan, a Miami-based attorney who represented plaintiffs in the case. He said his client is considering whether to appeal this week’s decision.

Playing a key role in court proceedings was the nature of the games at The Palms II.

Had Scott found them to be skill-based, as Kaplan argued he should, they would have fallen under the Family Amusement Games Act. This more recent legislation allows for some exceptions to the state’s wide-reaching prohibitions against gambling, which were broadened in 2013 to the point they threatened establishments like Chuck E. Cheese’s and Dave and Buster’s.

Scott instead found Palms machines to be games of chance, according to his order. That, under Florida law as interpreted by Scott, put them in violation of a another law regulating slot machines.

Court documents that describe how games at the cafe work suggest that games incorporate both skill and chance. Patrons would pay to use a machine, according to the court records. The first screen would show cascading tiles or a “loot wheel” that determined the amount of points they could potentially win. A second screen tasked them with “shooting” ducks, marked with percentage amounts, that moved across the screen. A patron who “shoots” a 25 percent duck would get 25 percent of the potential points indicated on the first screen.

The injunction petition likens the second screen to Nintendo’s “Duck Hunt” game from the late 1908s.

Patrons could redeem points on-site for low-cost merchandise, similar to an arcade, according to the injunction. A cash equivalent was not offered for points.

Noting in his order that facts of the case were not disputed, just how to interpret the laws surrounding them, Scott granted a motion for summary judgement. This meant that he, rather than a jury, ultimately decided on the case.

Kaplan, who noted competing evidence as to whether chance played a material role in the outcome of the game, said he feels the case should have gone to a jury.

The Palms II is not the first local internet cafe to come under the scrutiny of law enforcement. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement cracked down on cafes in 2014, closing at least two in Marion County. Authorities arrested another cafe manager last year.

Mark Simpson, an assistant state attorney who represented King in the case and who has prosecuted criminal cases against other internet cafes, said he is not aware of any internet cafes currently in operation in Marion County.

He said his office prosecutes internet cafes rigorously.

“If places open up,” he said, “we’ll find out about them.”

The Palms II closed after Gov. Rick Scott strengthened legislation on slot machines in 2013, according to Star-Banner reports, but re-opened quietly after a hiatus of several months. The Florida Division of Corporations indicates the establishment opened in 2011.

Contact Nicki Gorny at 352-867-4065, nicki.gorny@ocala.com or @Nicki_Gorny.