Local Politics

Players, workers rally to halt sweepstakes gaming ban

Posted June 23, 2010

— Less than 48 hours after the state Senate overwhelmingly approved a ban on so-called sweepstakes cafes, scores of employees and customers of the online gaming parlors rallied Wednesday to defeat the ban in the House.

The Senate voted 47-1 late Monday to shutter the sweepstakes cafes, which sell blocks of time that customers use to gamble online or via cell phone for cash and prizes. The businesses have been springing up in strip shopping centers statewide in recent months, prompting some towns and cities to enact special zoning rules to control them.

Senate leaders, sheriffs and Christian groups say the sweepstakes games are an end-run around the state's 2006 video poker ban. A series of pending court cases where the legality of the machines is in question has led to the proposal for the ban.

Computer software designers and parlor operators who stand to lose a lot of money with a complete ban argue it would eliminate thousands of jobs. They say the online gaming is no different than the North Carolina Education Lottery.

About two dozen busloads of people went to the Legislative Building Wednesday to push the message that sweepstakes cafes are a better diversion than the state-run lottery.

"You have a better chance of enjoying yourself and it takes you a little bit longer (to play) than scratching off a lottery ticket," sweepstakes player Jean Pleasants said. "You can sit there and talk to your friends all day long if you want. Nobody's going to kick you out for loitering. Nobody's going to shoot you, and nobody's going to swing at you."

Supporters of the games cite an analysis by lottery officials that found the state could generate $576 million annually if lawmakers legalize video poker machines again and regulate them heavily.

Arcade games and marketing games by soft-drink companies and other retailers that require the consumer to type in a code at a company's Web site would remain legal under the proposed legislation, officials said.

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  • Barbarabu Jun 30, 2010

    The state don't care about the little people here in society. There was a remark made that these were not the jobs these people should have, HMMM makes me wonder what jobs are there for people right now in NC, None that I know unless you had a family that could afford to pay for you to go to college and live while you went, I dont know but a handful of people that had that, Good for them and bad for us. I dont know how anyone up there in the high paying jobs can preach about what jobs anyone else should have, Why are they not taking some of there time trying to help the job situation right now, Instead of trying to make more people not have a job,By closing sweepstakes, Just a thought I had, Heck they make more in a month then most of us make in a year, But they dont worry they got theres. I say Tax the sweepstakes, Heck why not more money to help care for the people already using the system to live and make it, And save some 10.000 people their jobs.

  • simplyme29 Jun 24, 2010

    I enjoy these games! I am an average citizen with an avarage job making an average salery. I am a single mother that has put my heart and energy into me son whom now is in College. These sweepstakes, particulary, "KENO" are loads of thrills. I have only been to one of these places three times, however, had a blast. I went in with a limit and stuck with it and actually won some. Everyone I saw in this place was having a great time and laughing. Sometimes we need that in our life! :)

  • jeanpleasants Jun 24, 2010

    thought for the day: Every new car comes with at least 1 politician, some have more. That don't go by their real names,just a generic one-AIRBAGS

  • smobley87 Jun 24, 2010

    NClifelonggirl, i have seen you so many times on these sweepstake stories its about rediculous if you are TIRED of "suffering" from the school system HERES A SIGN LOOK FOR NEW EMPLOYMENT! Hello! You post the same story every article about sweepstakes. NO ONE CARES. but yes dont ban just tax :)

  • nclifelonggirl Jun 24, 2010

    ...kasondra81...AMEN AMEN AMEN!!! My husband manages one of the sweepstakes, and we are fine! Paying all our bills on time, we have insurance on our family, and food stocked up in the fridge. Banning these places will have us next in line in the unemployment line, and at social services, getting free medicaid and food stamps!! I'm sure there are people who legitimately need these services, especially the unemployment, but here come ten thousand more, because the state doesn't like gambling! Don't shut them down--tax them!! I work for the school system, and we haven't had raises in 2 years, due to "cutbacks". The lottery was to help the school system, and we're the ones suffering!! If they tax the sweepstakes, then maybe the school systems will start getting the help we need!!

  • iworkandpaytaxes Jun 24, 2010

    Why does some people say they are glad for this or glad for that? if you don't want to gamble, keep your behind home. Just because you dont like something, doesn't mean the next person want like it. Raleigh have to be the most boring place around. Lets not talk about christians, what a laugh. Is that why some churches have 3 services because it is the christian thing to do? Maybe it just brings in more money. Whom are the ones giving more money? poor people of course!!!! Get em out of those sweepstakes!!!! taking away money from church, pastor cant buy the latest benz. 3mths living here have been to long, leaving tomorrow, thank ya!!!!! Nothing but houses,more houses,apartments,more apartments and malls,lol. Malls and pools gets boring real fast. Can you really blame the people for wanting to keep the sweepstakes around? I don't.
    jannieboo66
    June 24, 2010 10:35 a.m.

    Nothing better than a good ole church raffle!!! No complaining on that gambling!!!

  • jannieboo66 Jun 24, 2010

    Why does some people say they are glad for this or glad for that? if you don't want to gamble, keep your behind home. Just because you dont like something, doesn't mean the next person want like it. Raleigh have to be the most boring place around. Lets not talk about christians, what a laugh. Is that why some churches have 3 services because it is the christian thing to do? Maybe it just brings in more money. Whom are the ones giving more money? poor people of course!!!! Get em out of those sweepstakes!!!! taking away money from church, pastor cant buy the latest benz. 3mths living here have been to long, leaving tomorrow, thank ya!!!!! Nothing but houses,more houses,apartments,more apartments and malls,lol. Malls and pools gets boring real fast. Can you really blame the people for wanting to keep the sweepstakes around? I don't.

  • Hans Jun 24, 2010

    "Use the $$$ to look hard and long into police corruption in this fine state!! "

    Didn't you hear? There's no corruption. It's just a "few bad apples". The fact that these few bad apples seem to turn up every day is just a coincidence.

  • Hans Jun 24, 2010

    "Because truth be told I have a job and it pays rather well, but the GOVERNMENT is trying to take it from me!!!"

    That's what government does, kasondra81.

  • kasondra81 Jun 23, 2010

    First let me state that I work for one of these sweepstakes.... after looking for a job for a year they finally hired me as well as thousands of others... This is the way I look at, if they ban it and I go to the county social services I will be elgible for a number of services.... I dont want to hear no one say of get a job and quit living off the taxpayers hard earned money.... Because truth be told I have a job and it pays rather well, but the GOVERNMENT is trying to take it from me!!!!

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