CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) - The State Attorney General's Office is conducting an illegal gambling investigation into a cyber cafe in Chicopee Falls.
22News cameras were rolling as Chicopee and State Police entered the Cafeno Cyber Cafe on Main Street. Police removed computer hardware from the building Thursday afternoon.
"Based on a number of complaints that we have received, our office has begun an investigation into the facilitation of possible illegal gaming at facilities that claim to be ‘Internet Cafes.' Today's actions are part of that investigation into the legality of three of these alleged gaming establishments located in Bristol and Hampden Counties," Harry Pierre of the Attorney General's office said in a statement sent to 22News.
Pierre also told 22News that they are also investigating the Cafeno corporate headquarters, which is located in West Springfield.
A sign on the door of the cafe said that they are closed for the rest of the day. Cafeno offers patrons the opportunity to play sweepstakes, trivia, and puzzle games in addition to serving food and beverages.
One customer, who did not want to be identified, told 22News it is a welcome sign.
"I know plenty of people who have spent thousands of dollars here I've spent a lot of money here I know somebody who's actually filed bankruptcy because of the gambling addiction that they had. If you put money into something thinking you're going to win more to me that's considered gambling," he said.
Several customers told 22NEWS they play sweepstakes games at the café by putting money on a card and any winnings from the games go on that card and they can take that money out in $500 increments.
Many customers showed up hoping to play, now concerned that if the cafe closes they could be out money.
Another man, who did not want to be identified, told 22News he owns several cyber cafes.
Although he has no connection to the Cafeno Café, he said the raid could affect his business.
"This is huge money and it could help a lot of people versus hurting people and it comes down to the legalities of what is a sweepstakes and what isn't a sweepstakes, I've been doing it for 11 years and in no way is a sweepstakes location gambling, There are guidelines that we have to follow and if we're not following those guidelines they're going to come in and shut us down."