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TMCNet:  Sweepstakes cafes temporarily close for new software

[January 03, 2013]

Sweepstakes cafes temporarily close for new software

GREENSBORO, Jan 04, 2013 (News & Record - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Many Internet sweepstakes cafes were closed today as they waited for new software that is supposed to make their games legal despite a recent decision against such online gaming by North Carolina's supreme court.


"We closed at 11:45 last night," said Heather Pickard, co-owner of the Spin-2-Win Sweepstakes on Yanceyville Road in Browns Summit.

They took the action along with a number of other sweepstakes businesses around the Triad on the advice of their software supplier, who promised to supply new technology later today that would adhere to North Carolina gaming law.

The businesses are reacting to the N.C. Supreme Court deadline on its ban on sweepstakes machines.

Pickard said after closing Spin-2-Win on Wednesday night, she drove around the area to check some of the other, larger sweepstakes cafes and found them closed as well, presumably awaiting new software. Pickard owns the Internet cafe with her husband, Jason Pickard.

They expected to reopen later today after checking out the new software to make sure there are meaningful changes. But they don't know what format the new games will take or what aspect of the old methodology their software provider will tweak, Jason Pickard said.

The Pickards said they do not want to break the law and will only reopen when they are confident the changes make the machines legal.

Sweepstakes owners closed before midnight because the state Department of Justice told law enforcement officials around the state that on Jan. 3 they could begin enforcing a 2010 law that banned Internet sweepstakes.

The law was upheld by the state Supreme Court last month in a decision overturning two lower courts that found parts of the law unconstitutional. Today is when the high court's ruling gets transmitted officially to the lower courts.

The state Department of Justice advised law-enforcement leaders statewide that "once the Supreme Court issues its mandate today, they are able to enforce the law," justice department spokeswoman Noelle Talley said.

But both the Guilford County Sheriff's Office and the Greensboro Police Department said they want more specific information from Attorney General Roy Cooper before they would take any action against local sweepstakes outlets.

___ (c)2013 the News & Record (Greensboro, N.C.) Visit the News & Record (Greensboro, N.C.) at www.news-record.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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