Raleigh, N.C. — The makers of software that drives sweepstakes gambling systems say they are appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court and have asked the state Supreme Court for a stay of an order banning the games.
In a unanimous decision last week, the state Supreme Court upheld a law that makes the games illegal.
"A brief stay of this Court's judgment is appropriate while Plaintiffs seek further appellate review," wrote Richard Gottlieb, a lawyer for International Internet Technologies, one of the companies involved in the lawsuit.
In his filing, Gottlieb writes that the U.S. Supreme Court "typically rules on petitions for certiorari two to three weeks after a briefing closes."
The games in question are designed around a system of drawings. Typically, players buy phone or Internet time and in return get entries into the sweepstakes. Software makers say the games merely reveal the pre-determined results in an entertaining way, not unlike contests conducted by soda bottlers or fast food chains.
But the state Supreme Court ruled the system was a work-around of North Carolina's broader ban on gambling and that lawmakers had the right to ban the practice.
State law enforcement officials said they had planned to begin enforcing the state law on Jan. 3, 2013. If a stay is granted, sweepstakes businesses could likely stay open until sometime in the spring, even if the U.S. Supreme Court does not decide to take up the case.