It Takes Skill To Run in the North Carolina Gaming Industry

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Pre-Reveal Skill Games Taking Foothold in Market

RALEIGH, NC - An appeals court in North Carolina upheld the convictions of two people for violating a state ban on video sweepstakes games (NON-PRE-REVEAL SKILL) in what state Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office said was the first such ruling in a criminal case.

preReveal 300x300The three-judge panel of the state Court of Appeals gave a unanimous decision which means the Edgecombe County case can’t be automatically appealed to the state Supreme Court, although the higher state court can choose to review the case.

Up and Down

The decision comes after 8+ years of back-and-forth between lawmakers, the video sweepstakes industry and the courts.

State lawmakers first passed a ban on video poker in 2006. The industry quickly adapted, introducing new sweepstakes games that operators said complied with the law. State lawmakers banned Internet-based sweepstakes games with entertaining displays in 2010 at that time the industry had already adapted to the “Pre-Reveal” Games and thus have won multiple court cases across the state.

With most sweepstakes operations, patrons buy prepaid cards giving them Internet time/ phone time/ or other products and the opportunity to uncover potential cash and prizes with mouse clicks on a computer screen. Winners take their cardspp to a cashier and cash out. No different than buying french fries at McDonald’s and peeling the tab to reveal your prize.

In the past two years, police in many municipalities have shut down sweepstakes cafes and arrested owners and employees. Some of those arrested have been acquitted of criminal charges because the Pre-Reveal games have been found not to violate the text of the law.

Some lower court judges have disagreed about the law and its application, leading to uneven law enforcement and the likelihood that appeals courts will again have to weigh in.

Skill and Dexterity

The Court of Appeals ruled that the convictions of sweepstakes cafe owner Richard Conoley and store 5Stationmanager Chapman Kawana Spruill should stick because the “video games offered at their location revealed a prize that didn’t depend on any skill or dexterity”, Judge Wanda Bryant wrote for the court and therefore violated the text of the law. Both were sentenced to 45-day jail terms, with Chapman’s sentence changed to three years of probation and Spruill given a year of probation.

 

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US Virgin Islands to regulate online gaming

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NC sweepstakes Game Conversion 750x75The United Stated Virgin Islands announced its opinion supporting the legality of online gaming in the islands.

Back in 2001, the USVI passed the Virgin Islands Internet Gaming and Internet Gambling Act, the same year Nevada approved its first online gambling bill.

NC Sweepstakes Option 350x350Earlier this year, the Casino Control Commission asked the Attorney General for his thoughts on the Gambling Act of 2001 for its compliance with federal law as well as territorial law.

After a comprehensive review on the VI Internet Gaming and Internet Gambling Act, Frazer concluded in an advisory letter that the Act of 2001 was legal.

As per USVI Governor John de Jongh Jr., the implementation of the Act will fulfil the mission of attracting very successful global internet gaming companies to the Virgin Islands. The Governor urged new investments to our struggling economy.

“This marks a turning point in the diversification of our gaming industry from land-based casinos and racinos, to internet gaming and gambling,” the Governor announced.

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Should NJDGE stop releasing gaming revenues monthly?

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NC Sweeps skill game king 750x75ATLANTIC CITY – The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement proposed to stop releasing gaming figures monthly by amending rules at N.J.A.C. 13:69 4.2.

Based on the press release authorized by David Rebuck, Director of DGE, the proposed amendment stated that casino gaming gross revenue information broken down by table game type and slot machine denomination shall be considered “confidential information” except as reported on an annual basis.

The proposal noted no impact on social, economic, employment, housing affordability and smart growth development.

convert your sweepstakes today 350x350“The proposed amendment does not have any significant social impact; it changes current policy from releasing revenue figures by table game type and slot machine denomination each month to only once a year. This brings New Jersey into line with other states which release casino gaming revenue figures. The effect of this change should be minimal,” the summary proposal read.

According to the DGE, it will only affect the release of revenue information from New Jersey casino licensees.

The DGE opens the table for public comment until October 3, 2014. For comments, the public can address it to:

Deputy Attorney General Charles Kimmel                                                                                       1300 Atlantic Avenue                                                                                                                         4th Floor Atlantic City                                                                                                                         NJ 08401                                                                                                                                             Email rulecomments@njdge.org

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Politician licks finger at poker game; thrown out of Melbourne casino

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MELBOURNE – An Australian Labor Party leader and former Premier of Tasmania was kicked out from a casino after he allegedly licked a finger during a poker game

The 58-year-old Paul Anthony Lennon confirmed that he was tied in cable and frog-marched out of Melbourne Crown Casino last Thursday night for licking his finger during a game of $2 poker.

convert your sweepstakes today 350x350“At one instance I licked my index finger before touching my dealt cards, as you sometimes do. But apparently this is against the rules—something I was not aware of. For this I was removed. I questioned the reason why, but was not given an answer,” said Lennon.

 

According to a witness, about five to six security guards wrestled with Lennon when he refused to leave after he aggressively berate a woman whom he accused of touching his casino chips. When the guards asked him to quiet down, Lennon reportedly resisted and asked the guards instead: “Don’t you know who I am?”

Lennon who served as Premier from 2004 to 2008 claimed he had not consumed any alcoholic drinks during the game and declined an interview request.

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Sweepstakes operators petition to have ‘seized cash’ back

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RALEIGH - Several business owners petitioned to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation during a crackdown on internet gaming.

During the spring, the FBI in cooperation with the state Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement busted about 176 sweepstakes parlors including those leased at Big Boy’s 66 Truck Stop in Kenly.

“A whole band of agents come busting in the doors. They took over. They took the money, all the paper money in the office,” told Walter Powell Jr., a truck stop owner.

According to Powell, authorities confiscated all the cash including Big Boy’s which was not connected to any internet gaming operation.

 

convert your sweepstakes today 350x350“We’re talking anywhere from $1,300 to hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Raleigh lawyer Dan Boyce who called the law hypocritical.

Boyce argued the law enforcement should be investigating Ricky Godwin, a sweepstakes game vendor in Selma who supplied coin-operated games to truck stops and not the gaming parlors in Kenly.

The gaming parlors busted in May was back in business after a legal advice stated that pre-reveal software used were in-line with the law.

“It was overreach. Not only that, there was the threat of criminal prosecution, which I find to be unbelievable,” Boyce said.

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