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NC Sweepstakes Game Ban Passes House, Awaits Gov.'s Signature

Posted On: 7/9/2010

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North Carolina sweepstakes games, sweepstakes videogames, sweepstakes videogame ban, video poker, slot-style games, Beverly Perdue, Entertainment Group of North Carolina, Bill Thevaos, Owl Music Co.

RALEIGH, NC -- North Carolina's House of Representatives banned sweepstakes videogames on July 7 by a vote of 86 to 27, following nearly three hours of debate. The same measure passed the Senate 47 to 1 on June 21. The ban is now on the desk of Gov. Beverly Perdue awaiting signature or veto. If Perdue signs the law, it will take effect Dec. 1.

A spokesperson said Perdue is "concerned" about "closing loopholes" in gaming regulation and looks forward to reviewing the bill, but did not say that she would sign it.

Following the House vote, the Entertainment Group of North Carolina said if the ban becomes law, it will consider a lawsuit to block its implementation.

EGNC, an operators association headed by Bill Thevaos of Owl Music Co. (Charlotte), also hinted that new technologies might provide operators an alternative way to run slot-style games despite any ban on sweepstakes machines.

North Carolina banned video poker in 2006. The state Legislature tried to outlaw sweepstakes games in 2007, but two separate district court rulings in 2008 have kept the market open.

In practice, videogames running sweepstakes programs are hosted by remote servers. Operators sell time or sweepstakes entries to players who use purchased computer time to enjoy game-style "reveals" of predetermined game results. The reveal, which shows the outcome of a game, typically has the look and feel of a slot machine