Tag Archives: law on sweepstakes

Electronic sweepstakes machines booming while courts work out legality

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Cities haven’t produced data to suggest issues

HENDERSONVILLE — They may be in legal limbo, but video “sweepstakes” machines are mushrooming in the mountains — and creating headaches for localities that want to limit their spread.

For more than a decade, the state legislature has tried to ban video gambling machines and even passed a bill in 2007 that outlawed them. After the 2007 action, the games re-emerged as video “sweepstakes” machines, which give players who buy Internet or phone time a chance to garner potential cash and prizes via mouse clicks on a computer screen.

Critics contend the games are a scourge, draining hard-earned money primarily from lower-income people who cannot afford the losses, charges the gaming industry disputes. The games resemble poker, slot machines and numbers games such as keno, although local workers refer to them as “card games,” “spin games” and “numbers.”

The legislature banned electronic sweepstakes games in 2010, but the state Court of Appeals struck down that ban in March. Now that ruling has been appealed to the N.C. Supreme Court, which is supposed to hear the case in September.

During this time, the sweepstakes games and parlors have proliferated in Western North Carolina, steadily popping up in mountain towns and counties. Sometimes, they’ve popped up to the discomfort of town leaders and elected officials, who’ve moved to limit them.

In Hendersonville, several sweepstakes parlors set up shop on Spartanburg Highway within a mile of each other.

“Then one located near downtown on Church Street, which is just off Main Street, and that really got council’s attention,” said Hendersonville City Manager Bo Ferguson. “They really wanted to limit them from locating on Main Street, in the heart of downtown.”

About six months ago, council agreed to amend the town’s zoning rules to allow sweepstakes parlors only in areas zoned “industrial.” Hendersonville has 20 businesses licensed for the sweepstakes games.

“There are significant areas of the city that they would be allowed in, but they’re not on main thoroughfares,” Ferguson said. “I would guess the industry would prefer the thoroughfares because they want the visibility.”

http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20120610/NEWS/306100059/Electronic-sweepstakes-machines-booming-while-courts-work-out-legality

Poker Machines seized in Winston Cafe

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. State agents have seized more than a dozen video poker machines from a Winston-Salem sweepstakes business.

WXII-TV reports (http://bit.ly/LF0bFT) Saturday that Alcoholic Beverage Control agents took 16 Pot of Gold machines during a recent raid at EZ Win Sweepstakes.

A worker at EZ Win has been charged with a misdemeanor gambling violation. The business’ owner referred comment to his attorney, who was not available Friday.

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Receipts showed winnings on the machines ranged from $50 into the thousands.

North Carolina banned traditional video poker machines in 2007. Earlier this year, the state Court of Appeals struck down the state’s ban on sweepstakes machines, which give people who buy Internet or phone time the opportunity to uncover potential cash and prizes with mouse clicks on a computer screen.

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Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/06/09/3304799/poker-machines-seized-at-nc-sweepstakes.html#storylink=cpy