NC Supreme Court dismisses stay request in sweepstakes decision

lbonner@newsobserver.comDecember 20, 2012 

The state Supreme Court dismissed a request from video sweepstakes software companies that asked the court to put a hold on its decision upholding a ban on the games.

Two software companies asked the state’s highest court earlier this week to stay its decision while the companies appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Sweepstakes companies say a 2010 law banning video sweepstakes violates their First Amendment rights.

The state Supreme Court disagreed in an unanimous opinion last week. The court’s decision to reject a stay further dims prospects for sweepstakes parlors running the most recent version of the games, where customers buy internet time or phone minutes and use in-house computers to search for prizes.

The companies will continue to pursue a U.S. Supreme Court appeal.

“Our client plans to seek a stay of the North Carolina Supreme Court’s recent ruling from the United States Supreme Court and to petition for a writ of certiorari,” lawyer Adam Charnes said in a statement. “The positive economic impact and thousands of jobs provided by the industry deserve nothing less than for us to explore all legal avenues to protect them and we will continue to do so moving forward.”

The legislature has been trying to outlaw video poker and video sweepstakes since 2006. With each attempt, companies change their business models and software to move outside the bounds of the law.

Bonner: 919-829-4821

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