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Issue Date: Vol. 51, No. 2, February 2011, Posted On: 1/14/2011

NC Sweepstakes Games Win Another Round In Court

Marcus Webb
sweepstakes video games, Internet cafe, North Carolina Court of Appeals, North Carolina sweepstakes business, Chris Canard, Hest Technologies, Roy Cooper

RALEIGH, NC -- The North Carolina Court of Appeals issued a ruling on Jan. 7 that Internet sweepstakes games may continue to be operated, while an appeal is pending on a lower court ruling in favor of sweepstakes videogames.

The disputed verdict was originally issued on Nov. 8, 2010, when Guilford County circuit court judge John Craig ruled in the case of Hest Technologies vs. the state.

Craig said that some sweepstakes games are legal amusement devices if they do not use casino-style gameplay in presenting outcomes of promotional sweepstakes. Craig made national headlines by agreeing with Hest that sweeps games deserve First Amendment protection under the U.S. Constitution. | SEE STORY

Both Hest and state attorney general Roy Cooper have appealed the different parts of the Craig ruling with which they disagree. Cooper's office also asked the state Appeals Court to issue a stay on implementation of the pro-sweeps part of the verdict until the court issues its opinion on the case.

If the court had agreed with Cooper's request, law enforcement would have been free to shut down all sweeps games in North Carolina immediately. However, it was this request that the Appeals Court turned down on Jan. 7.

"We're not just lucky," said Chris Canard, president of Hest. "It's clear we are a lawful business, conducting promotional sweepstakes in a lawful manner. For the state to selectively choose to ban our industry while we are in full compliance with the law doesn't make a whole lot of sense."

Canard also said Hest's systems are legal and meet all regulatory and statutory requirements and address all consumer fraud issues.

"We are simply asking that small businesses be allowed to conduct the same types of promotions Pepsi and McDonald's conduct," Canard said.

The February issue of Vending Times will publish a review of developments in the sweepstakes videogame market in North Carolina and beyond.

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