Wake sweepstakes parlors get visit from sheriff

April 1, 2013 3:29:28 PM PDT
Luck has run out for sweepstakes parlors in Wake County. Deputies are cracking down after Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said Friday he's ready to move ahead with cases against parlor owners and employees.

For years, sweepstakes parlors stayed open while their legalities were debated in state courts. In January, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled the parlors are gambling operations and illegal.

Some operators made subtle changes to the computer games based on recommendations from their attorneys to try to stay within the law. But now, Willoughby says he's studied the ruling and believes all such games are illegal. He's ready to test that in court.

ABC11 was there Monday as deputies visited a parlor in Fuquay Varina. They came with a letter warning that if the parlor stays open, arrests will follow.

At one parlor still open in north Raleigh Monday, customers said they think it's hypocritical for the state to operate a lottery and shut down sweepstakes games.

"It's basically the same thing.  You play a scratch off ticket, I mean, the same thing - testing your luck.  So you can spend money on scratch off tickets, you can spend it on sweepstakes," offered player Kevin Thorne.

We also checked with police departments in all the Wake County municipalities Monday. Those with parlors in their jurisdiction say they are likely to start warning those businesses too.

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