Sweepstakes parlor ban begins

January 3, 2013 3:40:07 PM PST
Luck is running out for sweepstakes parlors across North Carolina.

Authorities have the green light to enforce a ruling that bans internet sweepstakes cafes beginning Thursday.

The parlors were supposedly legislated out of business years ago, but they waged a long court battle.

The move stems from a state supreme court decision last month in which the justices ruled a 2010 law banning sweepstakes machines as gambling is constitutional.

Signs on the door of several of the sweepstakes parlors state that they are closed for software updates Thursday to comply with state laws and regulations.  

However, even if these businesses weren't closed, Clayton Police Chief Glen Allen said they are not proactively enforcing the new law.

"We haven't had any direction and we are concerned in these tough fiscal times developing a case, and going through a prosecution and spending a lot of time and resources on something that maybe legal again in a few weeks," said Allen.

Allen said his staff has other crimes to focus on.

"Property crimes, other things that may happen locally are more important right now, more an attention factor for us currently than internet sweepstakes places," said Allen.

However, Gov.-elect Pat McCrory said the law should be enforced. He adds he's tired of the possible loopholes and wants lawmakers to take action.

"I think it's going to be revisited regardless because of all of the legal maneuvering and interpretations that these things get repealed based upon a new definition," said McCrory. "This is getting ridiculous at this point in time. I'm going to have discussions with leadership of the state house on this issue in the near future too."

Not all lawmakers think there are loopholes in the current law, however. Rep. Paul Stam told ABC11 that the law is clear and enforceable.  He said, at this point, they just have to wait to see what gimmick these software companies will come up with next to see what steps lawmakers have to take next.

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