Wake ready to prosecute sweepstakes parlors

ablythe@newsobserver.comMarch 29, 2013 

— Wake County video sweepstakes parlors could get an extra look next week by police and sheriff’s deputies armed with permission to begin enforcing a statewide ban on illegal games and gambling.

Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby has instructed law enforcement agencies that his office is ready to begin prosecuting parlors and owners violating a three-year-old law.

The sweepstakes ban, which has been through many legislative renditions, has resulted in a years-long game of cat and mouse with the gaming industry.

In December, the state Supreme Court upheld the 2010 ban. Law enforcement agencies in other towns and cities recently began taking steps to close down violators.

State legislators narrowly wrote the 2010 sweepstakes ban so that it would outlaw video poker and slot machines but continue to permit other marketing sweepstakes, such as scratch-off game pieces offered by fast-food restaurants and grocery stores.

The gaming industry has changed software in machines as bans crop up across the nation.

Cumberland County authorities conducted a three-day crackdown on sweepstakes parlors last week, seizing more than 200 machines, closing 10 businesses and arresting a handful of operators and customers.

Many will watch the cases as they go through the legal process to determine the strength of the statewide ban.

Blythe: 919-836-4948

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