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[January 02, 2013]
Sweepstakes ban takes effect
HIGH POINT, Jan 02, 2013 (The High Point Enterprise - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Local law enforcement is working with N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement to effectively enforce the new ban on sweepstakes businesses that goes into effect today.
"We're going to let everything play out in the court system and handle it like any other law," said Capt. Mike Kirk of the High Point Police Department. "If we have complaints, we'll investigate it." A Dec. 14 ruling of the state's highest court upheld the law that bans the electronic gaming machines that popped up all over after video poker was banned in 2007. North Carolina Supreme Court banned sweepstakes machines as a form of gambling in 2010. Several companies thought to overturn that ban, calling it an infringement of the right to free speech.
Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, responded to the unanimous ruling that the state's ban on video sweepstakes is not an infringement of the right to free speech.
"I'm pleased every member of the Supreme Court chose to uphold the law the General Assembly passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support," Berger said. "Now that the question is settled, I expect our law enforcement officials will begin enforcing the law." Sweepstakes halls cropped up because of what justices called a loophole because of the definition of gambling.
Companies and manufacturers of amusement machines, a software developer, and firms that market long-distance phone and Internet services argued in court there's no gambling because prizewinners are predetermined.
"The operators and the developers will have to go back to the drawing board to see how they can run a legal business under the law," said Brad Crone, a spokesman for the Internet Based Sweepstakes Operators.
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