The Triple Cherries Internet Cafe, which opened last week at 1705 Beacon Blvd., offers casino-style games with the purchase of Internet time.
For every $1 of Internet time, customers receive 100 sweepstakes points. Those points can be used to play more than 30 casino-style games with the chance to win real money — up to $4,000, according to owner James Postema.
Game options include slot machines, video poker and three kinds of keno.
Postema said the games are legal because it's a "sweepstakes" setup, much like a local fast-food restaurant passing out game pieces for a chance to win cash prizes.
“I'm selling Internet time and promoting the Internet time with the sweepstake points,” said Postema, who opened a similar cafe at 1930 Apple Ave. in Muskegon in May. “You play the games with sweepstakes points and you're playing the games to win money.”
By law, no purchase is necessary to enter sweepstakes games. People can send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the software company to receive a free play.
“Everybody that comes in to play also gets the first dollar free,” Postema said. “You get one promotional dollar each day. The dollar will get you five minutes of Internet time and 100 sweepstakes points.”
Games take anywhere from 10 to 50 points per play, according to Postema. Visitors can use their points to raise the stakes and play for higher dollar amounts.
Postema said similar casino-oriented cafes are popular in the south.
“I researched this for quite a while before I opened,” he said. “I thought this would be a good spot to do it. There are a lot of older people who go to Florida in the wintertime, so they know what these are. The seniors tend to be the ones that enjoy playing these games the most.”
Postema serves free coffee, soda and snacks while customers play.
The 1,900-square-foot space currently houses 25 machines. Postema said he will add more stations as the need arises.
Triple Cherries is open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 2-10 p.m. Sundays.
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.