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Issue Date: Vol. 51, No. 7, July 2011, Posted On: 6/29/2011

Massachusetts Bans Internet Cafés And Sweepstakes Videogames

Marcus Webb
Attorney General Martha Coakley, Internet cafés, phone card venders, electronic sweepstakes games, "phone card lotteries, Massachusetts sweepstakes ban, amusement business, Hest Technologies

BOSTON -- Attorney General Martha Coakley said on June 24 that her office has made permanent a set of regulations to ban Internet cafés and phone card venders with sweepstakes games, or "phone card lotteries." The original policy was issued in April.

Coakley said venues in question had always been illegal, but operators had skirted the laws by "disguising gambling as something else such as the sale of Internet access." The regulations will prevent this scheme, she said.

Coakley's office is pursuing a criminal investigation against at least two sweepstakes parlors in Bristol and Hampden Counties.

Meanwhile, sweepstakes videogames remain controversial in many other states.

In an unrelated story, North Myrtle Beach, SC, has asked South Carolina's Attorney General, Alan Wilson, for a definitive legal opinion regarding the status of sweepstakes videogames in the state.

City officials said Hest Technologies, which made preliminary inquiries with a view to opening a cyber café in the resort town, triggered the request.

In Parker, FL, a sweepstakes videogame operator is suing the Jackson County Sheriff and the State Attorney because his games were shut down last May. The officials said the machines are gambling devices.

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