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NC Operators Defend Sweepstakes Games; VA Attorney General Approves

Posted On: 9/1/2010

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Internet-Based Sweepstakes Organization, Chase Brooks, electronic sweepstakes games, Internet sweepstakes, coin-op news, video poker, Internet café, sweepstakes video game, Ken Cuccinelli, coin machine operator, HB 80, electronic sweepstakes ban

RALEIGH, NC -- The Internet-Based Sweepstakes Organization, a newly formed coalition of North Carolina operators and location owners, said its members will modify Internet sweepstakes games to keep them operating in a way that complies with the ban on such devices.

In addition, IBSO president Chase Brooks said the organization might file a lawsuit against the state, arguing that the bill (HB 80) banning electronic sweepstakes is unconstitutional. The group also is considering plans to lobby for legalization, regulation and taxation of gambling-style entertainment over the Internet.

The bill was passed by the General Assembly this summer and signed by Gov. Bev Perdue on July 20. The ban was expected to shut down sweepstakes videogames in an estimated 900 Internet gaming cafés statewide, depriving the state of $1 million in licensing revenues next year. See story.

However, prior to passage, industry experts had predicted that if HB 80 became law, many operators would simply alter the technology or software programming of sweepstakes videogames in a way that made it possible for them to stay in business while technically conforming to the new law. It appears this may be what is now occurring.

In related news, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued an opinion letter endorsing the legality of sweepstakes-style videogames in which customers can win prizes but don't have to play the games, according to NewsChannel 3 in Virginia Beach. See the full story.

Internet-based sweepstakes videogames have begun to spread up and down the East Coast in the past year since North Carolina operators have enjoyed so much success with them, both financially and, until recently, legally.