Category Archives: nc internet sweepstakes

North Carolina Pre-Reveal Games Compliant with Text of Law

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Pre-Reveal Sweepstakes

Pre-Reveal Sweepstakes

WHITEVILLE, N.C. – a Dublin elected official charged with misdemeanor for illegal operation of a video gaming café told pre-reveal video machines were legal under the state’s law.

Last week, law enforcement from Columbus County Sheriff’s Office arrested Jeffrey Scott Smith, a town commissioner in Dublin and charged him with two counts of misdemeanor for operating Gold Rush Internet Café north of Whiteville. He was released, however, with $1,000 secured bond.

According to Capt. David Nobles of the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office, the raid which confiscated 68 hard drives from computers and $5,800 cash from Gold Rush was authorized by the District Attorney’s Office who stated that the State Supreme Court upheld the ban on video gambling machines.

However, Smith’s lawyer Alan Maynard argued the machines were legal under the North Carolina law because those who purchased internet time were already notified of the winnings before the game.

“Those same games are running in over 40 counties in the state of North Carolina. There are other district attorneys and sheriff’s departments that agree that our software is compliant,” said Smith.

DublinDistrict Attorney Jon David, nonetheless, insisted to take the case to the superior court for Smith’s best interest.

“By bringing this matter directly into superior court, we’re going to expedite things and give the community a chance to weigh in on what justice should be. And I would think that any defendant should embrace that opportunity because a jury is the ultimate safeguard for any criminal defense,” David told.

Cyber Cafes Closed; Now Back Open

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Pre-Reveal Sweepstakes

Pre-Reveal Sweepstakes

Four arrested for sweepstakes armed robbery in Reidsville

REIDSVILLE, N.C. – four residents of Alamance County were arrested for armed robbery and kidnapping at a sweepstakes parlor in Reidsville last week. Two others remained wanted. The Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office reported the arrests of Martrell Sentorius Jefferies, 24; Jimmy Robert Davis, Jr., 50; Whitney Bonique Lawson, 23; and Antonio Fiorello Johnson, 44. The suspects were all charged – Jefferies with robbery with a dangerous weapon and two counts of second degree kidnapping with $225,000 secured bond in jail; Davis with felonious accessory with $40,000 unsecured bond; Lawson with aiding and abetting an armed robbery and two counts of aiding and abetting second degree kidnapping with $125,000 secured bond; and Johnson with felonious accessory after the fact.

Arrested: Davis, Jefferies, Lawson and Johnson

On May 29, around 7:15 in the morning, two black men entered the shop at Village Business Center and Sweepstakes at 276 N.C. 87 Reidsville and threatened employees with a handgun. After that, they tied up the staff and fled in a white or tan Nissan with undisclosed amount of cash from the sweepstakes parlor. According to Deputy Kevin Suthard, public information officer for the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office, the local police collaborated with the Burlington Police Department in order to identify those involved in the armed robbery. “Our people have been in Burlington over the past week looking (for the suspects),” Suthard stated. Meanwhile, Percival “P-Diddy” Maurice Burnett, 33, who lived at 500 S. Greensboro St. Lot 44 in Carrboro and Charles Lewis Compton, 37 remained wanted. Police reminded that both Burnett and Compton were armed and dangerous.

Wanted: Burnett  and Compton

Pre-reveal Games Keep Gaming Business Open in NC

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Pre-Reveal-GoldLAURINBURG – the city council chamber served as a standing-room as it listened to more than 50 citizens air their concerns with internet cafes sprouting like mushrooms within the city limits.

Jason Watson, a resident and Ft. Bragg military police officer challenged the council by asking them as newcomers if they would be positively impressed with a bunch of internet sweepstakes cafes lined up along Main Street between U.S. 74 and the McDonald’s.

Watson called these storefront businesses as eyesores in the view of the public, not just to the people who live here, but to those who pass by and those who stop.

“I, as a police officer, know the type of people who enter these establishments. I know the type of behavior that is conducted inside. I know what drugs and addictions do to people because I see it every day,” the officer stated.

Meanwhile, Pastor Michael Edds of East Laurinburg Pentecostal Holiness Church presented statistics showing ties between gambling addiction, financial ruin and domestic discord.

“We have some serious problems out there and we’ve opened the floodgate for something that can compound what we’re trying to address,” expressed the pastor.

Edds cited these issues troubled him not only as a religious leader, but as a member of the city’s crime and drug committee as well.

“On this committee we’re trying to come up with proactive ways to reduce violence and crime in the city, but with this addiction that’s been thrown at us it’s making our job impossible,” Edds stated.

Based on the citizens concern, Laurinburg is turning to “a little Cherokee where no one will want to come and live.”

However, according to City attorney Bill Floyd who detailed the history of sweepstakes in the city, on a ruling released in December, the Superior Court alreadymade the determination that this particular software used in internet cafes is legal.

Since the statute is filled with loopholes and uncertainty, the city has not exercised the option to withhold licensing to these businesses.

Pastor Edds then, questioned the council if anyone of them own or rent space for internet shops.

The council did not answer except for council member Curtis Leak who replied with “Isn’t that statement personal?”

City Mayor Tommy Parker checked a list of sweepstakes owners and landlords presented by Edds and noted the absence of council members’ names. The list, however, does not include sweepstakes shops in the county.

“I’m going to appeal to you tonight to just be patient with the law enforcement task force and the city council. We hear you, we can’t act on this tonight, but I can say that it will be dealt with appropriately in a forthright, expedient manner,” Parker offered.

Now the State Wants To Regulate the Sweepstakes Industry with HB-547

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..HB-547 May Legalize the Sweepstakes Cafe Business in North Carolina..

Charlotte, NC – Upon reflection, 2013 may be remembered as the year when law enforcement began enforcing the state’s ban on internet sweepstakes game-rooms,55mpg but as for 2014, the games are back running strong in certain parts of the state, partly due to the function of the games and the legality of some games are unclear. The N.C. Supreme Court upheld the latest legislation taking aim at the gaming industry but Internet sweepstakes operators have been able to tweak their software to follow the letter of laws aimed at putting them out of business. The latest ‘tweak’ is a software called PreReveal Sweepstakes, where the customer doesn’t enter the sweepstakes in a manner that HB-80 descibes as illegal nor does the games  ‘reveal’ in a manner that the law describes as illegal. The court challenges and victories for the sweepstakes industry happen on a regular basis. Internet sweepstakes operators continue to fight the state in court, and their chances of reopening increase with every software change and appeal. Casey Rooks, a spokesperson for Carolina Sweepstakes Group says  “It’s pretty simple, laws have definitions and if the action does not fit the definition then there’s no violation, some call this ‘circumventing the law’ but we look at it like going 54mph in a 55mph zone, in this instance, the preReveal games were launched years before the sweepstakes ban law went into effect and they do not violate the text as it is written” If the Supreme Court’s 2012 ruling can keep Internet sweepstakes

Casey's Facebook Page

Casey’s Facebook Page

cafes closed once and for all, then the N.C. General Assembly succeeded where 20+ years of legislatures have failed but since the gaming industry has so many different types of video games, its hard to ‘outlaw’ them all. But if the internet sweepstakes industry finds enough loopholes and concessions to reopen cafes, then perhaps it’s time for North Carolina lawmakers to look for ways to tax and regulate the industry (SEE HB-547). HB-547 takes steps to finally get the NC gaming industry under control, Sponsors Wray, Collins, Floyd, Lucas, Malone, Richardson, Szoka have taken steps to in ending the confusion. NC547The North Carolina educational lottery and Internet sweepstakes seem to prey upon people who can least afford to gamble away their paychecks. But since its going to happen either way, NC should put some of that money to good use in schools and other areas of need.

Behind Several Court Wins, Sweepstakes Operators Quietly Changing Their Game

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..Showing The Prize Before The Entertainment; The Pre Reveal Way..

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Into the second year after the state Supreme Court upheld a North Carolina law banning sweepstakes cafes, some of the places where people play fast-moving computer games that mimic Vegas-style slots are still open for business after they changed the business model to another type of game.

Pre-Reveal-Gold

Over the last year sweepstakes cafes have been shut down by police, and their owners and employees have been charged with violating the law. But some of those arrested have been acquitted of criminal charges.

A few of the operators have turned to the courts for help. They’ve asked judges to issue orders preventing law enforcement from closing their stores, saying they have new software called “preReveal”  that puts them in compliance with the statute.

The strategy has created an air of uncertainty in some communities that have been trying to close sweepstakes parlors because it makes the entertaining value of the game optional and thus not against the law.

While some cities and counties are trying to close the businesses, other communities are allowing them to stay open until key issues are resolved.

Attorney General Roy Cooper said it’s clear that sweepstakes cafes are illegal. He said his office is working closely with local law enforcement and prosecutors, providing legal advice and assistance to close the operations.

But he said sweepstakes owners have been pushing back.

pp“I think law enforcement and prosecutors are just going to have to keep plugging away at this,” Cooper told The Associated Press. “I think overall you’ve seen a reduction in the number of these businesses in North Carolina either who voluntarily go out of business or who have been shut down by law enforcement. I think it’s just going to take a period of time before its eradicated.” “You still may have them popping up like we did with the payday lending industry. They come up in different kinds of forms. It’s sort of like whack-a-mole. They come up with a different kind of nuance,” he said.

But he warned: The sweepstakes industry might change the games to comply with the law.

North Carolina lawmakers first passed a ban on video poker and all other electronic gambling in 2006. The industry quickly adapted, introducing new sweepstakes games they said complied with the law.

Lawmakers responded with new legislation in 2008 and 2010 making it unlawful to possess game terminals that simulate slot machines or are used for the display of electronic sweepstakes. The makers of sweepstakes software then sued the state, saying the ban violated their Constitutional free speech rights. The resulting court fight dragged on two years, culminating in the December 2012 Supreme Court decision upholding the ban.

After the ruling, law enforcement agencies began raiding cafes, seizing computers and making arrests.

But sweepstakes owners protested, asking lawmakers to look at new software that reveals the winners in advance, a move they say keeps them in compliance with the law.Pre-Reveal-Gold

With most sweepstakes operations, patrons buy Internet time that gives them the opportunity to uncover potential cash and prizes with mouse clicks on a computer screen.

To play at the cafes, customers get prepaid cards and then go to a computer to play “sweepstakes.” Winners go back to a cashier with their cards and cash out.

The pre-reveal system software allows participants to find out if they’ve won before they play the game.

That issue was a key part of a recent Duplin County case that involved a Charlotte-area attorney.

Gardner Payne was charged in October with six counts each of gambling, and the illegal use of electric machines and devices for sweepstakes.

He said he used the sweepstakes to promote his businesses, and that customers purchasing Internet time could find out in advance if they won.

The state law makes it illegal to conduct a sweepstakes through the use of an “entertaining display” to reveal a prize. But Gardner said the new pre-reveal software did not use an entertaining display to conduct the sweepstakes.

Prosecutors said buying Internet time was just a pretext.

But in late December, Judge Henry Stevens IV agreed with Payne, and dismissed the charges.

However, the judge’s ruling only applied to this case. So a year after the Supreme Court ruling, the issue is being played out in other counties — one case at a time.

Telephone messages left for Payne were not returned.

Sweepstakes owners also are going to court in their own communities to stop law enforcement from closing down their businesses.

 

Read More Here : http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/01/01/3499861/despite-ban-sweepstakes-cafes.html

NOT GUILTY Verdict in North Carolina Pre Reveal Sweepstakes Case

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..Not Guilty Verdict Brightens The Day for Sweepstakes Operators..

Duplin County, NC – In a Eastern Carolina district court hearing a case about new ‘Pre Reveal” sweepstakes the trial came back with a not guilty verdict.Pre-Reveal-Gold

According to District Attorney Ernie Lee, Gardner Payne was arrested September 5th and charged by the Duplin County Sheriff’s Office with six counts of gambling and six counts of video sweepstakes violations.

Payne was in charge of a Sweepstakes business on NC 41 in Wallace.

On Wednesday Judge Henry Stevens found Payne not guilty of all 12 counts.

Not Guilty Verdict In New Sweepstakes Case

A law enforcement official suggested that the state will continue to enforce the law and that many places that are still open are doing so by running ‘pre-reveal games’

Sweepstakes in North Carolina Get a Random Win

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..Injunction Granted In North Carolina PreReveal Case..

ASHEVILLE — A video sweepstakes operator says a court order in eastern North Carolina will allow him to expand in North CarolinaPre-Reveal-Gold

A preliminary injunction was issued against the Onslow County by a Superior Court judge and ruled his preReveal sweepstakes machines are legal and prohibited the sheriff from seizing them or arresting those who were operating them.

PreReveal Sweepstakes machines are operated in over 40 counties in North Carolina.

“We’ve proclaimed that our games were good to go from the start” Casey Rooks says.

The ruling marks the first Superior Court win for sweepstakes operations since the December 2010 ban and the seventh sweepstakes-related win, including charges dismissed in District Court across the state.

Superior Court judges have jurisdiction statewide. The injunction is for the Onslow County sheriff though Rooks did suggest that many jurisdictions may use this as precedent until told otherwise. “We are following the text of the law and today it shows”Rooks says that this ruling will expand PreReveal into other markets “all around the state”

 

1-877-WIN-CAFE Players

1-877-WIN-CAFE Players

Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Natalie Bailey said officers would continue to investigate gambling machines when they receive complaints.

Rooks said “Apparently the judge ruled the machines are legal sweepstakes because they are depended on skill and dexterity.” The judge also ruled the promotional and management practices fit with how other sweepstakes (preReveal) are administered, he said.

The argument has been consistent throughout the state, where the games a dependent on skill and dexterity. “We’ve said from the begining that our PreReveal games would stand up to the letter of the law”

Dozens of NC Lawsuits Filed Against Municipalities For High Sweepstakes License Fees

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..In other similar court cases, the cities and towns were forced to refund business license fees..

MAGGIE VALLEY – The town joins the queue of communities in North Carolina facing threats of lawsuits for collecting over-priced business permits for sweepstakes.

Pre-Reveal-GoldThough non-prereveal video gambling was already outlawed in NC earlier this year, business owners were demanding to get their money back after paying thousands of dollars for license fees.

The town consulted with North Carolina’s League of Municipalities whether to refund the license fees amounting to more than $18,000 or fight the battle in court.

According to the Pinters who manned Vegas in the Valley, Torry Pinter and Jo Pinter, they were on their third month of operation when the law shut them down. Pinters said that aside from the dollars spent in establishing the business, they paid the town $18,250 for licensing fee.

The Pinters claimed they did not get a return of investment from the business.

“I’m still in the hole, way in the hole,” declared Torry Pinter.

In a letter sent to Maggie Valley on behalf of the Pinters, Attorney Steve Agan of the Hyler and Lopez stated that people were coming out of the woodwork to get them to try to help them with everything related to sweepstakes machines.

City of Maggie Valley May Refund Sweepstakes License Fees or Fight it in Court

The same letter was sent to Franklin with a threat of a lawsuit if the town does not reimburse Mark Berry of Dowdle Mountain Pit Stop the $13,000 license fee.

Meanwhile, to avoid the cost of lawsuits, the town of Highlands who also received the same memo from Hyler and Lopez and decided to pay back $13,000 to Highlands Wine Cellar.

Town Manager Marcy Onieal of Waynesville pointed out that towns do not refund license fees to business owners who went out of business.

Similar lawsuits across North Carolina have resulted in the cities refunding all or partial license fees.

Some NC Parlors Conform To New Law, Some Do Not

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..Latest Bust Show the Benefits of Compliant Games..

Havelock, NC – A truck loaded full of illegal internet gaming equipment from Havelock area businesses after a day full of sweepstakes bust.

A total of 7 businesses were raided on Thursday, all along East or West Main Street and U.S. 70.

Havelock police worked with members of the Craven County Sheriff’s office to serve search warrants on seven businesses known operating the illegal gambling devices.

Havelock Police Bust Game Players

Police say the following businesses were found to be in possession of gaming equipment or relevant evidence:

– Food Fare at 227 West Main St.

– Mr. P’s Sweepstakes at 900 U.S. 70 West

- Internet Connections at 1329 East Main St.

– B&B Internet Access at 925 East Main St.

– Jean’s Place at 220 East Main St.

– Super Expressway at 807 East Main St.

– Ben’s Beach Bingo at 1333 East Main St.

– U.S. Mini Mart at 221 East Main St.

Police seized hundreds of pieces of evidence during the raids, arrest are pending review from the District Attorney’s Office.

Sweepstakes Games With Pre-Reveal Spread Into Western NC

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Pre-Reveal and Skill Games Intergrat The Gaming Industry In NC

WAYNESVILLEInternet sweepstakes with yet another win, 4-0, as the court dismissed another case on Monday.
Tami Nicholson of Winner’s Circle Sweepstakes Parlor was the fourth defendant found not guilty, this week. Nicholson who declines to comment looks very glad with the outcome of the proceedings.Pre-Reveal-Gold
According to Attorney George Hyler, Nicholson’s legal adviser, the court is consistently siding with his arguments that the new breed of sweepstakes machines which involves skills and dexterity are legal.
Those games are found to be legal, says Hyler.
After the case was dropped, Nicolson is likely to be one of those operators who would re-open another sweepstakes business.
In fact, pre-reveal sweepstakes businesses are already in a boom across the region with its remodelled version of machines. Various sweepstakes machines are spread out in gas stations across Sylva, Waynesville, Macon, Swain, Jackson and Haywood.
However, District Attorney Mike Bonfoey states the dismissal of those charges does not guarantee that the remodelled machines are legitimate.
Bonfoey says, it always a case-to-case basis and it is not precedent.
Meanwhile, law enforcement says remodelling sweepstakes machines are just gimmicks to circumvent the law passed by the Supreme Court in January to ban sweepstakes.
Though prosecutors have dismissed four sweepstakes charges in a row, DA still urges authorities to enforce the law. “The issue seems to be that the games do not violate the text of the law. A law has definitions and games seem not to violate those definitions.”
Waynesville Chief Bill Hollingsed says the statute is valid until then and they will continue to enforce it until they are told by courts to stop.
Hollingsed adds that the DA has the final say judgement on the issue.