PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Pender County commissioners may roll the dice on a gray area at their meeting Monday night. A business is trying to get approval to open a sweepstakes parlor, even though the state banned the video games last year.
On the agenda is a public hearing to approve two special use permits to open two sweepstakes parlors in the county – one in Hampstead and another in Rocky Point. So we wanted to know how this could even be considered on the agenda.
We reached out to Pender County Commissioners. After only hearing back from two, it seems even the people in power are in the dark about the hearing and the laws surrounding video gaming in North Carolina. Commissioner Chester Ward admitted he did not know they were illegal in the state, even though the law went into effect last year.
So we decided then to talk to Rep. Carolyn Justice. She said sweepstakes were absolutely illegal, but there were some loopholes. She directed us to the General Assembly’s Research Office. The staff there explained that the state does have a law banning sweepstakes, but there is still some controversy surrounding the issue.
A research analyst said a part of the law is going to the court of appeals because of a lawsuit in Guilford County. The suit says part of the law is vague and unconstitutional, allowing the sweepstakes to remain in business. He says right now, many law enforcement agencies are waiting for the Court of Appeals to decide the case.
The Pender County Planning Board says the business is seeking land use approval at Monday night’s meeting. County planners are under the understanding that the business will only operate using legal games.