Category Archives: nc internet sweepstakes

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.

Legal Skill Game And Pre-Reveal Open A New Chapter In North Carolina Gaming Saga

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NORTH CAROLINA – Despite a misconception of a statewide ban on video sweepstakes machines, the video gambling industry introduced new games that do not violate the law to get the machines back into Western North Carolina, apparently emboldened after the 3rd straight district court judge have dismissed a series of criminal charges against sweepstakes operators.Pre-Reveal-Gold

It’s been less than a year since the N.C. Supreme Court shut down the sweepstakes-style machines, declaring them illegal under the state’s standing ban on electronic gambling machines that use ‘entertainment displays’ to enter a sweepstakes or show results of entries.

Some businesses decided not to shut down their operations however, so police brought criminal charges against more than half a dozen establishments in the region, including some in Maggie Valley, Waynesville, Canton, Sylva and Franklin.

Some of those charges have been tossed out as they have come before local district court judges, however. Namely, cases in Waynesville, Sylva and Franklin heard by Judges Donna Forga and Monica Leslie have either been dismissed or ruled not guilty.

The latest to be fond not-guilty was Angela Davis Nicholson, a 43-year-old employee at Winner’s Circle on South Main Street in Waynesville. Nicholson, as with others who were found not-guilty,  contended that the newest version of sweepstakes games require skill and dexterity, and yet also offer a pre-reveal option and therefore the state’s ban on “games of chance” doesn’t apply.

“The whole issue of these cases revolves around whether they have a skill or dexterity component,” said George Hyler, the Asheville attorney who represented Nicholson.

Prosecutors were unable to definitively prove otherwise.

“The judge thought that the evidence was insufficient to go on. She dismissed the case,” said District Attorney Mike Bonfoey.

Hyler made the same successful argument to get sweepstakes operators off in Franklin and Sylva, with the sweepstakes manufacturers bankrolling his attorney fees.

Now, the ongoing battle between state legislators and the video gambling industry appears headed for another chapter.

However, unless there’s an official decree from the state or a higher court deeming the games legal, the Waynesville police department will continue to cite violators even if it cost tax payers money on unsuccessful court cases.

“I really think we are going to push back,” said Waynesville Mayor Gavin Brown. “We have taken the position that these are not legal.”

Brown, along with leaders from other towns, were surprised to hear that the sweepstakes machines were creeping back into the area, however.

Canton Town Manager Al Matthews broke the news during a quarterly Council of Governments meeting Monday night, sharing a couple of recent sighting of the new-style pre-reveal sweepstakes machines being rolled into gas stations.

“They are trying to run what they argue is a legitimate game,” Hyler said. “So far, they have been proven right on three different occasions.” The legal skill game seems to be gaining in popularity.

Hyler added that Winner’s Circle owner Tami Nicholson placed stickers on her machines to denote that players must use skill or dexterity to win.

Charging High Fees On Sweepstakes Cafes Comes Back To Bite NC Municipalities

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North Carolina – A budding number of cities are facing lawsuits after the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that the business licensing tax charged by Lumberton on sweepstakes operators was 59,900% higher than what the constitution requires.

Excessive Fees Scrutinized In North Carolina

Among these cities are Macon County, Hickory, Newton, Syla, Haw River, Highlands and Lenoir. Most cities are expected to pay the fees back with interest on what was considered the excessive amount, that amount is predicted to cost individual municipalities hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Reports say that Lumberton has taxed sweepstakes owners $135,000 per machine, a very high price compared to what the law requires which is $12.50 per machine annually. Likewise in Lenoir, the tax imposed has doubled from $500 to $1,000 per machine.
Clark Consulting Group which operated Highway 18 Sweepstakes in Lenoir filed a lawsuit against the city and demands $22,000 paid for franchise fee, legal fee and tax. It also has a pending case against Newton, Conover, and Hickory.
To keep their sweepstakes operation going, business owners pay steeply. Back in 2012, Granite Falls suggested to increase their tax by 500%.
According to Director Jeanette K. Doran of the North Carolina Institute of Constitutional Law, a careful balance must be struck between the right of the people to be free of abuse from taxing power and the power of the government to impose tax for legitimate reasons.
Doran added that there is no set amount necessarily unconstitutional and unreasonable. She mentioned that the emphasis is on fair play and equality, citing that what constitutes an unconditional tax may vary based on the circumstances of the tax required. Furthermore, she explained that what constitutes a constitutional tax will inevitably bear the hallmarks of fairness and freedom.
In addition, Mitch Kokai of John Locke Foundation declared that increasing tax can be justified if it pays for additional services. He also emphasized that the tipping point for deciding what is just or lavish is a gray area.
As per Kokai, cities should be allowed to charge a higher fee for business operations that generate a higher cost to the city like for example if a certain business requires more public service like fire protection and police sweep. Kokai said a business fee scale that incorporates more taxpayer costs makes sense.

Internet Cafe Not Using New Pre Reveal Shut Down

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TARBORO – The District Court convicted the proprietor of Past Times Internet Café together with two of his staff for engaging in illegal electronic sweepstakes last Wednesday.
Judge William Farris of the District Court sentenced Richard Conoley Chapman, 66, business owner, Kwana Spruill, 37, manager, and Gwenette Mills, 35, staff, to 30 days suspended jail time  and fined them $200 for court costs.Pre-Reveal-Gold
The trio have been arrested and charged after a search warrant was conducted by Tarboro Police Department on April 15.
According to police reports, Chapman has already been warned several times to shut down. Back in December, when North Carolina Supreme Court ordered a ban on internet sweepstakes cafes that use entertainment displays, Past Times Internet Café has already shut down. However, it has reopened which forced authorities to serve a search warrant.
The Judge also ordered authorities to return all items seized which includes cash, a cash register, hard drives, computer screens and chalk board with recent winning amounts. The winner’s board indicated that the top prize amounting to $1,971 had been won 10 days earlier.
After the verdict, the defendants’ lawyer filed for an appeal which means that they will have a jury trial in the Supreme Court.
According to Chief of Police Damon Williams, the business operators did not take them seriously when they entered the building. The patrons playing sweepstakes games cooperated and immediately left the premise.
Chief Williams said they will not tolerate anyone to publicly violate the general statutes. After the ruling last December, business owners with large scale operations filed lawsuits to keep their business running when software companies attempted to reprogram the software to comply with the law by displaying pre-reveal winners. Past Times internet cafe was not using the pre-reveal software.
The Chief mentioned during that time that he would abide by the laws and close those establishments inside city limits.
During the trial to keep the business open, some internet café went back to operation. Williams said that it was up to the discretion of authorities in each county on how they wanted to handle it.
Reports say that there are eight internet cafes operating in Edgecombe County at the time the ruling was passed, yet, only Past Times Internet Café was served a search warrant. Reports also indicate that at least half of the existing cafes were running the believed to be compliant pre-reveal software.

North Carolina Video Lottery Terminal Association Endorses Pre Reveal Sweepstakes Games

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North Carolina Video Lottery Terminal Association (NCVLTA) Endorses Pre Reveal Sweepstakes Games.

Hendersonville – Four Internet sweepstakes parlors remain open and active into the new taxable year in Henderson, and one parlor is looking to expand by doubling its terminals thanks to a new software that has won 3 court cases in NC and deemed not to violate the text of the sweepstakes ban law.Pre-Reveal-Gold

Diamond Sweepstakes on West Andrews Avenue received permits from the Henderson Zoning Board of Adjustment Tuesday to relocate into a larger suite two doors from their current location.

The comeback is taking place amidst a contentious debate at the state level aimed against Internet gaming that is seen by some officials as a form of gambling.  Buoyed by new legislation last year, some state agencies have been shutting down gaming parlors, that violate the law, igniting a new round of legal actions.

Some parlors closed down rather than pay local privilege license fees due for the new taxable year that started July 1 at a risk of being shut down. Those fees in Henderson run $2,000 per operation plus $1,000 per gaming terminal. Courts have ruled that the “tax” on internet gaming were excessively high and are expected to be lowered because of that decision.

Gaming business owners insist that program changes to their terminals put them in compliance with the law. “If you read the law and then you look at the games and how they work, it’s easy to see that the games do not cross that line, the Pre Reveal games are the next phase in this ongoing battle with the state.”

Diamond Sweeps owner James D. Coble told zoning adjusters that he is confident he can grow his business at Crossroads, and include the addition of three new hires to his workforce of six.

“Most of the sweepstakes operations are still open as far as I can tell,” Coble said. “Presently we have 30 machines, and we would like to double that to 60 machines.”

Coble said that he has never had any trouble, no need to ever call the police, and he has 11 cameras taking video feed of the area as a measure to keep everyone who patronizes his gaming establishment polite.

“Everyone who comes in has to show a driver’s license or a valid identification card,” Coble said.

According to Coble, his new hires would be making $9 hourly. He said his current employees make that or a little better.

Four Internet gaming operations are active in the city: Diamond and City Sweeps are on West Andrews Avenue, Brothers Internet Café is on Dabney Drive and Good Luck Sweeps is the newest, on Zeb Robinson Road.

They are approved for a total of 107 machines, but have so far paid $93,150 in privilege license fees.

A fourth parlor operated for a time at Marketplace Shopping Center with 35 terminals in 2011. Space-per-terminal restrictions would have allowed up to 64.

City Sweeps, also at Crossroads Shopping Center but more than 750 feet from Diamond, is smaller with 15 machines.

The newest parlor, approved for 124 Zeb Robinson Road, was limited by ordinance at 34 terminals. It operated with 20 last year.

According to permit application documents, Crossroads Shopping Center is owned by Jim Crawford Jr., a former North Carolina legislator.

Coble said he knew of “several lawsuits in motion” across the state of North Carolina, and he expressed confidence they would be resolved in favor of sweepstakes gaming.

“Many operations are moving back to active,” he said.

Cafes Still Functioning In North Carolina

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Replacements from the Currituck County Sheriff’s Office took possession of 25 electronic gaming machines on July 2. The machines were seized from the Border Station in

Pre-reveal Sweepstakes

Moyock.

The convenience store, situated at the North Carolina-Virginia perimeter, was reportedly operating machines utilized to play Internet sweepstakes games that were banned by the N.C. Supreme Court in 2012.
Hundreds of Internet cafes across the state have been mentioned to still function in the past months. Some companies that own the machines have pointed out new software applications they have released that have actually made the machines “certified with state laws.”.
Internet Based Sweepstakes Operators President Chase Brooks claimed he was intending to “check out morphing in to whatever we have to be under the rule of law to continue our mlm business.”.
The Supreme Court ruled on Dec. 14, 2012 that the state law banning video sweepstakes games was not an infraction of free speech. Outer Banks towns and Dare County were amongst the many areas around the state that cautiously welcomed the decision, while taking a “wait-and-see” strategy to further action. The Dec. 14 choice reversed a March 2012 ruling by the state Court of Appeals, which proclaimed that the 2010 law was written too broadly and was illegitimate. The Supreme Court’s ruling went into result Jan. 3.
“Operating or placing into operation an electronic machine is precisely conduct, not speech,” Associate Justice Robin Hudson wrote in the 23-page choice when it come to Hest Technologies, Inc. and International Internet Technologies, LLC v. State of North Carolina.
“No faster is a lottery specified, and the definition applied to an offered state of truths, than ingenuity is at job to progress some plan of evasion which is within the mischievousness, however almost within the letter of the description,” composed Hudson. She added, “It is the one playing at the game that is affected by the hope enticingly held out, which is frequently false or frustrating, that he will, possibly and by good luck, acquire a free  ride, or a great deal for a very little outlay. This is the lure that attracts the credulous and unwary in to the deceptive scheme, and it is what the law denounces as incorrect and demoralizing … Claiming it prohibited.
 The Court of Appeals declared the law an overbroad regulation on shielded speech and struck it down as felonious. We conclude that this legislation manages conduct and not protected speech and now reverse. Given that the starting of this country, states have exercised the police power to control gambling.”.
Leaders in the General Assembly turned down arguments from the electronic gaming business requiring the legalization of video sweepstakes in North Carolina to create state earnings by regulating and straining the games. Us senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger applauded the Supreme Court on its judgment, emphasizing the 2010 law’s solid bipartisan help in the law-makers. “Now that the inquiry is cleared up, I expect our law enforcement authorities will certainly begin imposing the law,” Berger said. Agreeing, State Attorney General Roy Cooper stated: “I stood with law enforcement to promote a restriction on this type of gambling, and our attorneys have argued for years for the right to implement it. The Supreme Court got this one right.”.
Police authorities across the state had actually shown their issues regarding higher risks to the general public’s security due to heavy traffic, chock-full parking, boosted criminal offenses and the opportunity of organized crime utilizing the procedures for cash laundering and other illegal activities. N.C. Sheriffs’ Association Executive Vice President Eddie Caldwell claimed, “It’s legalized stealing from people who do not actually understand they’re being stolen from.”.

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