Many of the Charlotte area establishments that once did a brisk business operating electronic sweepstakes games are now closing after they found themselves on the losing end of a business dispute with state prosecutors. The North Carolina Supreme Court’s decision to uphold laws making the sweepstakes games illegal marks the end of a long and expensive legal battle.
The sweepstakes gaming phenomena in the state started when a law was passed making video poker illegal in 2007. Owners of video poker machines began to modify their games so they would comply with the new law. Each time a new law was passed in the state to ban the games, the sweepstakes parlor owners would simply reprogram their machines to remove whatever feature the law deemed illegal while still finding a way to provide their product to the public.
The Supreme Court’s decision that the state did have the right to ban the machines because they were being used to gamble illegally marked a turning point in the lengthy battle that caused many sweepstakes parlor owners to conclude that the legal costs of operating their sweepstakes machines was becoming too expensive. A few sweepstakes parlor owners have attempted to make yet another tweak to their machines and continue operations. The state has given these establishments a final date by which to close or face prosecution.
Organizations that are involved in a dispute that could change the fundamental nature of their business operations could benefit from meeting with an attorney. A lawyer may be able to formulate a strategy to protect their clients commercial interests and find legal ways to move forward.
Source: Charlotte Observer, “Sweepstakes parlors face shutdown“, Andrew Dunn, November 29, 2013