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Video sweepstakes law can be enforced early 2013

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TWC News: Video sweepstakes law can be enforced early 2013
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RALEIGH -- Authorities across state can begin enforcing the law outlawing video sweepstakes on January, according to the North Carolina Sheriffs' Association.

Last Friday, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled video sweepstakes are illegal which upheld the 2010 law banning video sweepstakes machines as a form of gambling.

Under the state rules, opinions of the supreme court take effect 20 days after they are issued.

Despite the ruling outlawing video sweepstakes machines, some parlors believe they've found a way to stay in business, which is a relief to some players like Jeremy Brown.

"That's all the rumor that's been talked about lately, they closing down. When they closing down? What are we going to do? Where are we going to go?" questioned Brown.

A little less than 100 parlors, like one on Capital Boulevard in Raleigh, hope to remain open by updating their sweepstakes software system.

The law firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice explained the new software does not use the same entertaining display as the old equipment.

“I represent VS2 North Carolina, LLC, which licenses internet sweepstakes software to various business centers and internet cafés in North Carolina,” said Winston-Salem-based attorney John Morrow.  “VS2 is aware of and respects the North Carolina Supreme Court’s recent decision that the sweepstakes ban law is constitutional. As a consequence, VS2 has developed a new sweepstakes system that we believe does not violate that law.  Specifically, the sweepstakes ban law only outlaws systems in which the sweepstakes is conducted through the use of an entertaining display. VS2’s new system does not use an entertaining display to conduct the sweepstakes.”

The North Carolina Sheriffs' Association Executive Vice President Eddie Caldwell is aware some stores may convert to a new system.

"Sheriffs and other law enforcement officers who encounter any 'converted' machines may wish to consult with their agency legal adviser or local district attorney for guidance about charging violations of the statute," Caldwell advised sheriff offices across the state.

Despite the controversy, players like Brown hope the parlors find a way to remain open.

"It's a fun place to be to get away from the family a little bit and enjoy some time trying to win some money," he said.

When authorities beginning enforcing the law outlawing video sweepstakes, Caldwell said sweepstake machine operators could be charged with a felony for obtaining property by false pretense.

To view the North Carolina Supreme Court opinion surrounding the complaint filed by Hest Technologies, click here.

To view the North Carolina Supreme Court opinion surrounding the complaint filed by Sandhill Amusements, click here.

To view the memo from attorneys surrounding the new sweepstakes software, click here.

To view the memo from the North Carolina Department of Justice, click here.

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