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Hawaii Declares War On Sweeps Viddies

by Staff Reporter
Posted On: 10/1/2012

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TAGS: Hawaii sweepstakes, sweepstakes video game, electronic sweepstakes, Internet cafe, Winnerz' Zone, Keith Kaneshiro, Oahu, Product Direct LLC, PJY Enterprises

HONOLULU, HI -- Police here raided six Winnerz' Zone sweepstakes videogame venues on Sept. 27, seizing 77 machines. Prosecutors said a seven-month investigation had established that players were offered cash payouts of as much as $5,000. No arrests had been made at presstime.

Law enforcement officials said the raids were just the opening salvo in what is planned to be an ongoing battle against the gaming sector. City prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro estimated the state's most populous island, Oahu, is home to about 32 sweepstakes venues.

The sweepstakes videogames were sold by Product Direct LLC (Georgia) and locally distributed by PJY Enterprises.

Attorneys for the distributor said the games are legal because consumers can enter the sweepstakes without paying any money. Defense lawyers also pointed out that the Honolulu Liquor Commission had inspected the devices and approved them for placement in its regulated venues.

A spokesman for the agency said the commission's approval of the machines in locations for liquor licensing purposes was not a determination of legality under gambling statues.