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Despite Ban, NC Operators Will Run Modified Sweeps Viddies

Posted On: 11/19/2010

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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.