..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, 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
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. The 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.