Not All Sweepstakes Games Get The Ax



Charlotte - Rockingham County officials announced today their plans to enforce the state’s ban on electronic gaming with entertaining displays and close operators in the county.

However, not all of the businesses will be shuttered and the ones that may be forced to close will likely change their games and re-open.

Pre-Reveal Sweepstakes

Pre-Reveal Sweepstakes

District Attorney Craig Blitzer said late Monday that sweepstakes businesses in the cities of Reidsville and Eden and the town of Madison will not be part of the crackdown. Any sweepstakes business operating outside of those municipalities, however, will be shut down.

“I will be shutting down my machines,” said David Holland, who owns a tobacco store in Madison and is Mayodan’s mayor pro tem.

It’s estimated that approx 51 businesses would be closed by July 1.

He said he based his decision to exempt Reidsville, Eden and Madison because officials there were worried about the financial repercussions a crackdown might have as well legal action LOTTERY_Ottobeing taken against them by sweepstakes owners. Casey Rooks, a spokesperson for PreReveal Skill Games says “Ultimately the State has to deal with violations of the statue, we feel extremely confident that our games do not violate the text of the law, we practice showing law enforcement  our games and why they are compliant with the law.”

Sweepstakes games are usually found in Internet cafes and often located in shopping centers and convenience stores. They usually feature computer terminals on which customers play games of chance. Rooks explains “When the state defined what constituted an illegal game, the gaming developers plugged in a new game”

Large sums of money is at stake. The City of Greensboro shut down sweepstakes businesses at the beginning of this month, collected  $900,000 in licensing fees during parts of 2011 and 2012.

Reidsville collected about $23,000 in 2014.

Eden, looks to lose about $225,000.

“Coming up with a strategy to replace approximately $225,000 in revenues is very difficult,” said Brad Corcoran, Eden’s city manager.

To make matters more complicated, sweepstakes operators have already paid the county for the fiscal year that ends June

It’s unclear how the county would address a potential refund for those businesses but there is precedence in North Carolina that the county would indeed have to repay those fees.

Unclear NC Gaming Law Allows Games To Play On

More Court Wins Clouds Prosecution

Charlotte, NC – Sweepstakes cafes aka internet cafes that were once banned in North Carolina, are popping back up despite the state’s ban on certain types of the games. Close to a dozen businesses have opened up in Lenoir County since early February, when Sheriff Ronnie Ingram lifted the previous ban on electronic gaming devices.

Pre-Reveal Sweepstakes

Pre-Reveal Sweepstakes

State lawmakers banned internet-based sweepstakes games with entertaining displays in 2010. The North Carolina Supreme Court upheld the law in 2012. Prior to the ban, the game developers launched a game that did not violate the text of the sweepstakes ban law, a game commonly referred to as “PreReveal Games”

Law enforcement officials across the state consulted their district attorneys to make sure they could prosecute the cases, “Just as in years past, the law is so murky with the new types of games that prosecution would rely on interpretation of the games, until the state puts out something clear, law enforcement is spinning their wheels”

PreReveal Spokesperson

PreReveal Spokesperson

Casey Rooks, spokesperson for PreReveal Games, goes on to say “The State has been playing whack-a-mole with gaming for over a decade, there’s a bill in the NC legislation (HB-547) that’s been stalled for years that would tax this industry and bring revenue for the state and clarity for this industry, why the delay ?”

The Skill Game Sweepstakes: Year 8

Greensboro, NC – Greensboro Police Department’s crackdown on sweepstakes businesses that are not compliant with North Carolina’s electronic gaming law may begin enforcement as soon as today. Lawmakers banned a similar game in Dec 2010.

In November and December of last year the department informed approximately 55 local operators of “sweepstakes rooms” that as early as Mar 1st police would begin enforcing the state’s ban of non-compliant games.cropped-THE-REAL-PRErEVEAL-940X240.jpg

The majority of sweepstakes operators within Greensboro city limits planned to close this morning and most said they would receive a “game update” that would keep them “legal and within the law with a pre-reveal with skill game software” others are eyeing legal options that look “very promising” said Jay Patel who owns Sweeps on the Triad near Greensboro Hwy.

“The new games do not break the law, the games involve skill and dexterity” said Patel, who owns 2 convenience stores, a smoke shop and a coin laundry. “They spend so much banning games and what people do with their own time and money that they could tax it and give the proceeds to the schools or veterans or whoever”

The game maker of the pre-reveal skill games was not available for comment but recent court case victories seem to suggest that any game using skill and dexterity would not be a violation of law. 

“HB 547 has been sitting in committee for years, HB-547 ends this ‘whack-a-mole’ and begins generating revenue for the state, maybe instead of passing ban laws they should tax it and move on” Patel goes on to say.