Good news for Excelsior residents, bad news for prolific gamblers. The Internet cafe-turned gambling covert casino, Net Stop, will be closing its doors within the next two months, which authorities hope will put a cap on the increasing crime complaints in the neighborhood.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera says he settled his case this morning with the proprietors and landlords of Net Stop Business Center, where money-hungry customers would buy "points" that could then be used for online slot machines. Winners would cash out at Net Stop, violating local and state gaming laws, according to Herrera.
Under the settlement, the Internet Cafe agreed to close its doors within the next 60 days and refrain from operating another Internet cafe in San Francisco for five years.
Herrera also said that Figure 8 Technologies Inc., the software company that supplied the gambling software to Net Stop, has agreed to a court order to cease providing, supporting, or maintaining gambling software anywhere in the state of California for five years.
In addition, Figure 8 said it would pay San Francisco $25,000, and to deactivate its software at all California establishments.
"We were able to negotiate settlements and tough injunctions against both Net Stop and Figure 8 that abate a neighborhood nuisance in the Excelsior, strike a blow against the criminal activity that has come with it, and will even curb illegal gambling statewide," said Herrera. "We will move aggressively to protect neighborhoods from anyone who isn't following the law."
Herrera filed his suit on Nov. 7, 2013, accusing Net Stop of breaking the law and driving criminal activity in the Excelsior neighborhood. In the year prior to its opening, from November 2011 to October 2012, police were called out to Net Stop's location at Mission Street and Excelsior Avenue only two times. But in the first year Net Stop was open for business, from November 2012 to October 2013, SFPD responded to Net Stop's location at least 202 times, according to the complaint.
Herrera noted that the cafe, which was open 24 hours Thursday through Sunday and closes at 2 a.m. Monday through Wednesday, was bringing in nefarious characters who were in turn draining police resources.
Needless to say, the one person who is responsible for guiding the neighborhood's well-being is pleased by today's news -- Supervisor John Avalos.
"This is a big win for Excelsior residents," said Avalos, whose District includes the Net Stop location. "When this establishment closes, people are going to feel safer on the streets and have even greater pride in the neighborhood."
Here's the lawsuit: