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EMERY P. DALESIO
Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina’s highest court is deciding whether the state can outlaw video sweepstakes parlors as gambling halls, or whether the video screens give the owners constitutional free-speech rights.

The state Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in two cases in which amusement machine and other companies want to overturn a 2010 law banning video sweepstakes machines as a form of gambling. Sweepstakes halls have cropped up since the state outlawed video poker machines.

A company attorney argued customers can find out from a clerk whether they’ve won, but using a video screen to share that information is no different than communicating in pictures, French or Braille. Attorney Kelly Daughtry says it’s all protected speech.

A state government attorney says no one has a right to run a gambling operation.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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