Pre-Reveal Games Come Up In Appeals Court Decision

Pre-Reveal Skill Games Seem To Get Nod In Appeals Court Decision ?

RALEIGH, NC - An appeals court in North Carolina upheld the convictions of two people for violating a state ban on video sweepstakes games (NON-PRE-REVEAL SKILL) in what state Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office said was the first such ruling in a criminal case.

Pre-Reveal Sweepstakes

Pre-Reveal Sweepstakes

The three-judge panel of the state Court of Appeals gave a unanimous decision which means the Edgecombe County case can’t be automatically appealed to the state Supreme Court, although the higher state court can choose to review the case.

Up and Down

The decision comes after 8+ years of back-and-forth between lawmakers, the video sweepstakes industry and the courts.

State lawmakers first passed a ban on video poker in 2006. The industry quickly adapted, introducing new sweepstakes games that operators said complied with the law. State lawmakers banned Internet-based sweepstakes games with entertaining displays in 2010 at that time the industry had already adapted to the “Pre-Reveal” Games and thus have won multiple court cases across the state.

With most sweepstakes operations, patrons buy prepaid cards giving them Internet time/ phone time/ or other products and the opportunity to uncover potential cash and prizes with mouse clicks on a computer screen. Winners take their monopolycards to a cashier and cash out. No different than buying french fries at McDonald’s and peeling the tab to reveal your prize.

In the past two years, police in many municipalities have shut down sweepstakes cafes and arrested owners and employees. Some of those arrested have been acquitted of criminal charges because the Pre-Reveal games have been found not to violate the text of the law.

Some lower court judges have disagreed about the law and its application, leading to uneven law enforcement and the likelihood that appeals courts will again have to weigh in.

Skill and Dexterity

The Court of Appeals ruled that the convictions of sweepstakes cafe owner Richard Conoley and skill gamesstore manager Chapman Kawana Spruill should stick because the “video games offered at their location revealed a prize that didn’t depend on any skill or dexterity”, Judge Wanda Bryant wrote for the court and therefore violated the text of the law. Both were sentenced to 45-day jail terms, with Chapman’s sentence changed to three years of probation and Spruill given a year of probation.

 

State law limits spread of sweepstakes cafes

Get Your Plug N Play Kits NCSANTA ROSA – The promise of easy money from internet sweepstakes cafes drew the interest of patron Jeff Nayer to a local gaming cafe offering skill-based games in computers.

Nayer played once a week for six months, dropping up to $10 a visit, before hitting what he thought was a $4,800 jackpot on a progressive Keno game. However, before he could collect his prize, the gaming cafe in a Santa Rosa storefront packed up all its computers and moved out.

NC Skill Games 350x350Patrons claimed the big break turned out to be just another rip-off.

“It would have been a hell of a lot better if they paid me all my money. I’m finding out they are a real scam,” said Nayer.

Back in December, the California Bureau of Gambling Control issued a memorandum claiming sweepstakes games as illegal under state laws.

In order to wipe out internet café operation across the state, California Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield authored the Assembly Bill 1439.

According to Salas, the cafes violate anti-gambling laws while victimizing people and causing other types of crime.

“These Internet sweepstakes are thinly veiled gambling operations that establish themselves in an economically depressed area, accrue hundreds of thousands of dollars through online gambling and close when apprehended by law enforcement. Often, these illegal gambling cafés will then re-open in a new location, threatening to negatively impact another neighborhood in the community. Recently, there has been a growing proliferation of these gaming operations throughout the state,” AB 1439 stated.

Court dismisses sweepstakes case

NC Plug N Play 750x150WAYNESVILLE – The court dismissed another Internet sweepstakes cafe related case in Waynesville.

The court decided Tami Nicholson of Winner’s Circle Sweepstakes Parlor was not guilty in internet sweepstakes charge.
According to Attorney George Hyler, Nicholson’s legal adviser, the court agreed with his arguments that the new breed of sweepstakes machines which involves skills and dexterity were legal.

“Those games are found to be legal,” said Hyler.

NC Skill Games 350x350Sweepstakes businesses became a boom across across Sylva, Waynesville, Macon, Swain, Jackson and Haywood as it remodelled version of machines from traditional sweepstakes cafes into skill games.

District Attorney Mike Bonfoey, however, told the dismissal of the case do not guarantee that the remodelled machines were legitimate.

– The court dismissed another Internet sweepstakes cafe related case in Waynesville.

The court decided Tami Nicholson of Winner’s Circle Sweepstakes Parlor was not guilty in internet sweepstakes charge.

According to Attorney George Hyler, Nicholson’s legal adviser, the court agreed with his arguments that the new breed of sweepstakes machines which involves skills and dexterity were legal.

“Those games are found to be legal,” said Hyler.

Sweepstakes businesses became a boom across across Sylva, Waynesville, Macon, Swain, Jackson and Haywood as it remodelled version of machines from traditional sweepstakes cafes into skill games.

District Attorney Mike Bonfoey, however, told the dismissal of the case do not guarantee that the remodelled machines were legitimate.