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Issue Date: Vol. 50, No. 12, December 2010, Posted On: 11/19/2010

Despite Ban, NC Operators Will Run Modified Sweeps Viddies

Marcus Webb
North Carolina sweepstakes game ban, Ban Electronic Sweepstakes bill, HB 80, sweepstakes videogames, sweepstakes videogame ban, video poker, slot-style games, Beverly Perdue, Entertainment Group of North Carolina, Internet Based Sweepstakes Organization

RALEIGH, NC -- Most of North Carolina's Internet cafés with sweepstakes videogames will probably remain open after Dec. 1, despite the fact that a new state law takes effect on that day that was specifically intended to ban this type of amusement.

Brad Crone, a spokesman for the Entertainment Group of North Carolina, the state's major operator association, told press outlets across the state that operators will launch a new type of sweepstakes videogame in November or early December that will conform with HB 80, the sweepstakes game ban. The law in question -- "An Act to Ban the Use of Electronic Games and Devices for Sweepstakes Purposes" -- was passed this summer by the General Assembly and subsequently signed by Gov. Bev Perdue. It takes effect Dec. 1. [see story]

The language of the bill includes a multi-part description of prohibited "machines and devices," including the provision that banned equipment is "server based."

Presumably, however, a sweepstakes videogame that is not server based (or otherwise differs from the law's lengthy definition of banned devices) could continue to operate after Dec. 1 and remain in compliance with the law.

Echoing past comments by EGNC leaders and the Internet Based Sweepstakes Organization, a rival association, Crone told a reporter for a Charlotte TV station that the sweepstakes games industry is a "moving target" that cannot be effectively eliminated by legislators "because it's driven by technology." [see story]

Accordingly, said Crone, lawmakers should regulate and tax the risk-reward entertainment machine industry. EGNC has been lobbying for a well-regulated video lottery system for at least two years, saying taxes on the machines could add $500 million a year to state coffers.

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