After tabling a vote on a new sweepstakes parlor, one Clayton councilman said he’s waiting on more information before making his decision.
But what information specifically?
“I’d rather not discuss that,” Clayton Councilman Michael Grannis said Tuesday night after the council’s vote to postpone the decision.
During a council meeting last month, Grannis said he wanted proof that the proposed RNC Entertainment on U.S. 70 Business would operate with legal software.
North Carolina bans sweepstakes games that use entertaining displays to reveal prizes. But Tony Ro, a Raleigh man helping to launch the Clayton parlor, says the parlor will use only “pre-reveal” software that is in “full compliance” with North Carolina statutes.
Ro was present at Tuesday’s council meeting, when Clayton leaders were scheduled to consider a special-use permit for the business. But when the council reached the matter on the agenda, Grannis asked that the board table the required hearing until Oct. 20. The board unanimously approved the motion.
“I want to be sure that when it’s time to make a decision that we have all the information in,” Grannis said after the meeting. When asked specifically about the Oct. 20 date, Grannis said, “I think by then we will have all the information that I require.”
The proposed sweepstakes parlor plans to have 80 gaming machines in a 5,664-square-foot storefront in the Walmart shopping center on Town Centre Boulevard. Ro said the machines would use Blue Diamond “pre-reveal” software, which Ro and other parlor owners say reveals prizes before a person plays a game.
Multiple courts have offered different rulings on sweepstakes parlors that use “pre-reveal” software. However, N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper has said the state’s ban makes no exception for “pre-reveal,” which he called a “made-up word” that state statutes have not defined.
Law enforcement of sweepstakes has varied across agencies and jurisdictions, and Clayton’s town attorneys made note of the uncertain legal environment in a memo to Town Manager Steve Biggs last month.
On Wednesday, Councilman Bob Satterfield said he was also waiting on more information but could not discuss specifics because of the quasi-judicial nature of the sweepstakes-parlor hearing. RNC Entertainment’s bid for a special-use permit requires an evidentiary hearing, a process similar to a court hearing.
“Michael Grannis had asked about some proof that some machines would be operating legally, and I haven’t seen that,” Satterfield said. “I’m guessing that’s why Michael asked for it to be tabled.”
In other business, the Town Council:
• Unanimously approved a preliminary subdivision plan for Riverwood Ranch Phase 2A, which calls for 15 single-family residential lots. The subdivision is off of Pritchard Road on the north side of town.