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.
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.