Straggling sweepstakes shops warned to close
Some people apparently hadn’t gotten the message that sweepstakes cafes are now illegal in North Carolina.
This week, Maj. Paul Martin of the Durham County Sheriff’s Office set out to remedy that problem.
He warned 10 operators that he knew of that under a state law upheld last December by the N.C. Supreme Court to close or face misdemeanor charges and lose their computers.
“Many of them closed immediately,” Martin said. Two held out until a second warning on Friday.
“Some of these shops have as many as 100 computers,” he said. “I don’t want to have to pull detectives away from other priorities to have to seize computers. It’s not a good use of our time.”
If necessary, though, Martin made it clear that the Sheriff’s Office would do just that, and then turn the seized computers over to Durham Public Schools.
It’s not just the operators who face potential legal problems, Martin said. Customers caught in a sweepstakes café also could be slapped with misdemeanor gambling charges.
The legislation covering these cafes makes it illegal to possess a game terminal that simulates slot machines or is used to display electronic sweepstakes.
Earlier this year, deputies raided several Durham sweepstakes parlors and confiscated dozens of computers and thousands of dollars in cash.
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