Wilmington sweepstakes remain open despite court ruling

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Submitted: Sun, 12/16/2012 - 9:22pm
Updated: Mon, 12/17/2012 - 5:49am

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled Friday the state can outlaw video sweepstakes parlors.

North Carolina’s highest court says the state can outlaw video sweepstakes parlors because they don’t have the same free speech protections given to video games.

“I’m pleased every member of the Supreme Court chose to uphold the law the General Assembly passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support,” N.C. Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger said in a news release Friday. “Now that the question is settled, I expect our law enforcement officials will begin enforcing the law.”

Despite the ruling, sweepstakes parlors in Wilmington remain open.

A manager at Cyberspot on N. College Road, who did not want to speak on camera, says the store will stay open through, at least, a 20-day grace period until January 3rd.

He says the store is beginning the process of adjusting its business model to comply with the ruling. He adds the thought of so many employees out of work, especially right after Christmas, is upsetting.


  • M.Holder says:

    This comment is strictly for all you people who either run a internet cafe or work at one, I too owned and operated one, how can you honestly say that this is legal, most employee’s who work for them are getting paid under the table while still collecting welfare. The companies are making a fortune off of poor people who think that the are going to hit the big one, people sell their food stamps to play, or spend their whole paycheck,the owners are getting rich,while the poor get poorer, I HOPE THEY DO CLOSE DOWN FOR GOOD! also the owner do not turn in all their profits!!!!

  • J says:

    Amen! It’s a coward that blames others for their own problems. This persons problem is not with gambling. It’s much deeper with self control. I hope they aren’t drinkers or smokers. Then we will need to shut down all of the ABC stores and convenient stores too. I’m sure everything evil points to gambling. Go see your doctor and get help before you start blaming another habit. I own one of these places also and mine is very clean and upscale and most of my players are retired and they use this place to relax and enjoy themselves with others who play here. It isn’t anything underhanded and yes, they do win alot and they have self control. My employees also have been trained to watch for someone spending to much. If they are, my loyal employees will ask them to stop. If that same person has put alot of money in a machine and then they win a great amount, we will ask them if they would like to put most of that in their car or if they would like for us to hold it for them. They appreciate the fact that we care about them. And by the way, I pay my taxes and unemployment taxes and all other fees charged by North Carolina. I run a clean, honest business and if the state of NC would regulate these things, and they have had plenty of time to do so, we wouldn’t have a problem now.

  • joan easterling says:

    I don’t feel hat anyone has the right to tell a person how to spend there money, this is crazy in that we have a lottery were people can spend there money under the guys that the money is going to the schools, ho ho, everything I here this is a joke the school teachers are buying supplies out of there own pockets for there kids, in there classes because there’s no money.

    There there’s the fact that sweepstakes are taxed and the money goes ???????? where, why not do the same thing with the money there and put it in the schools.
    What gives the goverment state ect. the right to make up our minds for us on something like this.
    who does it hurt?

  • Reality says:

    Sad, people don’t understands the loss of life from these machines. Most that play these games will tell you they can’t stop playing, and they wish they would outlaw them because their is no win in them but they still come to lose there money. Government should help people who can’t help themselves, it’s the right thing to do. What about the children of the addict, Oh i know they should suffer because there are 6,000 people employed in a ponzi scheme called Internet Sweepstakes…i saw David hagg the original founder of ITT bragging he had opened up 50 solo, and 100 joint ventures in the state since his 1st store started beating people out of money in 2006…that’s 1 store per month. And yes he was a poor person that had no real wealth, and now he’s killed more African american wealth in North Carolina than the lottery has ever acquired..comparing the two are like apples and oranges, there both fruit, and it stops there…so please stop the argument in comparison, the same poor children will be the cost for him being a millionaire and an increase in incarceration jumps over the next 10-15 years…just a small inference there but soon to be a reality…so keep up the nonsense, or keep it real and gas up to a regulated gambling establishment where it’s fair to lose all you want.

  • lucky says:

    You have no clue what you are talking about. The majority of players are older retirees that consider it a social gather place. Nobody at the sweepstakes i manage is having financial difficulty. The people that you speak of probably represent about %5. It is sad to say that due to the “state” protecting them alot of people will lose their jobs and alot of good people lose an activity they enjoy. The government will be paying about 10,000 people unemployment, the state will miss out on close to 10million bucks of tax revenue that they seem to need. Oh and the local governments will lose around $800,000 in tax revenues they already receive. Not to mention the real estate companies that will have mass vacancies now and already struggle to to rent. Most softwares are preset to pay back out 90% on the money they take in.

  • raylaw says:

    Hello to everyone. Everybody has a opinion. This I know for sure if you don’t tax it and keep them legal, then they go under ground and everybody gets screwed. Do you people not understand this is another way to take your rights away. I do not go to a strip joint because my wife will not let me have the money. I did gamble this year and I voted. However MY freedom is very important to me. Just because you are an idiot, do not take my rights away. To the idiots that lost $100,000.00 or more, you can buy a lot of machines for that kind of money. AND guess what you become the owner. but that would take a smart person to do that.

  • rip them off says:

    SHUT THEM DOWN IS RIGHT. THEY RIP PEOPLE OFF today TERRIBLE. VERY DISHONEST TO CUSTOMERS AND THE OWNERS ALONG WITH NEW JERSEY DO CONTROL YOUR WINNINGS. I DO NOT KNOW HOW THEY DO IT. ROANOKE RAPIDS IS A BIG RIP OFF MOST DAYS. POOR PEOPLE CAN NOT WIN NMOTHING IN THERE. $2.00 spins giving people .50 cents. $5.00 spins giving you $15.00 that nowhere near tbat possible $1000 win. Thiis happens time after time at the one next to walmart exit 173 and lucky at exit 168. Shut them down and keep them shut. Owners get richer and care nothing about ripping you off. Sinful they are. Good luck when you on the street with your begging cup and they pass you and won’t give you one buck out of their pockets That use to be in Your pocket. PLEASE CLOSE THEIR DOORS FOREVER!! BAN THEM!!!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!i

  • SHUT UP says:


  • OMG U Idiot says:

    You are such an idiot! I cannot believe that just because you blow all your money you think that something should be banned. I am so tired of irresponsible morons whining about how we need to stop this or that because people cannot control themselves.
    No one forces you to play! If you cannot control yourself then do not go inside. If you spend all your money gambling, then you deserve to be homeless!
    You are clearly what is wrong with America.

  • guesty says:

    Since you don’t have self control so they should be shut down to everybody?

  • Kim Dillon says:

    I am a avid player,3-4 times a week..I have lost way more than I have won.I go with the attitude of a certain amount i am going to spend & having fun,but sometimes fun turns into 200.00 or more…I say I’m going to stop with then 20,30 40 50 more DOLLARS,until that turns into 100.00-200.00…CRAZY! I have overheard people lots of people say oh I pray I win,so I can pay my rent,heat,put gas in my car..I have just got to get some back seldom happens..I could buy a car for what i have blown in these places! I say take them for it is a habit!If not it’s going to be another downfall to the state due to the fact some don’t make or have a lot of money in to put in these machines..no one will ever get ahead…No ONE! Just the business owners,not the players! Just a small hand full will win is the exception.All is predetermined & no one every will come out ahead..Some have lost there homes & children are hungry due to this dirty habit!Seriously if something isn’t done I’m afraid we are going to have a lot of suicides or depression because of the fact they have lost everything! So I say CLOSE them for good! Have family time or go do something worth while other than loosing every dime..Never will you get ahead on these type machines or gaming….NEVER!

  • joyce says:

    Lisa, I am with you. I lost my inheritance because of playing these games. At first when they opened, they let you win, but then when enough people started going, they tightened these machines up. People with addicting behavior problems have lost a lot in these places. i had enough money to live on at one time and now I am in trouble and trying to survive on only $600 a month..gambling, drugs, drinking and eating disorders are a real problem and these places know that. When they first opened, you could win, but now the machines are so tight you rarely see anyone win. So many of the players are elderly and lonely and bored people. If you don’t have any of these problems it may be hard for you to understand, but they are real and these places take advantage of it. At one time, Beverly Purdue was talking about regulating the machines but it never happened. Please stop these places or regulate them so it is a fair game and people can win too.

  • lisa smith says:

    Ive been addicted to these sweepstakes games for 5 years now.. Ive lost about 100,000 dollars. almost lost my home aswell. this so called sweepstakes is the same as little casino,s. just look at all the violence these places have even caused. roberies, family fights ect. i do hope internet sweepstakes get totally ban! this could be the best thing that could happen to myself and others , even the one that do want to admit it(because of the adiction). ive lost enough money as i know alot of others have to.

  • Theo says:

    A state that gets hundreds of millions of dollars off the lottery is vehemently against a few people dropping a few bucks in a sweepstakes parlor.

    If they can’t tax it, they ban it. Rule of government.

  • marty lee says:

    what they r saying is u do not have the rite to spend your money on what u want to. even though on my money it says !!! this note is legal tender forALL debts public and private..its all pre determend so think about it . its not gambling.and if u think that it is ,what do u think about the scrach offs in every convenet store .. ther pre determed too ,so aint that the same thing????

  • marty says:

    Its ridiculous for our state to say that gambling is illegal when they..the state sanctions gambling through its participation in lottery and scratch-off tickets.The NC Lottery homepage gives the odds of winning a jackpot in 1 in 175,223,510….not to good! I can assure you that the odds of winning at a video poker machine are nowhere even remotely that high! Yet they say that gambling preys on peoples hard earned money…and they..the state spends thousands of dollars advertising lotto jackpots to entice people to play a game that has those kind of odds…Really?

  • joyce says:

    Bravo, that you can control your spending. There is a large segment of the population who have addiction problems, stemming from various issues. I, for one, because of childhood trauma, became addicted to drugs years ago, got cured, but then, turned into a food addiction, then that became cured, I became a gambling addict. I lost 90% of my inheritance playing these places. When they first started you could actually win, then they got people addicted to them and you could not win anymore. Keep Cherokee open, it is these internet cafe’s that are all over the place, that is the problem. They are not regulated, as Purdue said she would do, at one time. One day we went to play, this was years ago, and dang, we were all winning, all three of us that went in together. I was up to 1300.00 and having a blast, when suddenly the owner demanded that we all turn off our machines and he made sure everyone did. I overheard them say they had forgotten to RESET the machines. So, once we logged out and turned the machines off, they said,ok, turn them back on and what a difference..we all started losing fast….got out of there quick, but learned then what a rip off it was.

  • Elizabeth says:

    A big part of the problem here are the “bible thumpers” trying to force their views and narrow mindedness on other people. I like to go to the casino in Cherokee and play video poker machines. I am a responsible adult and haven’t “lost the farm” yet with my little bit of playing the machines. One of the excuses to outlaw them is that peoples’ lives have been ruined because of gambling. Yes, some fools don’t know when to quit. I take in X amount of money and when it’s gone, so am I. You have to use common sense and realize the reason casinos and sweepstakes cafes, lotteries, etc are in business and making lots of money is because it is set up so they aren’t losing. Drugs and drinking and the consequences of those vices have ruined many lives also what with the spending to get your fix, then the legal fees if you get caught. Law enforcement would be better served to keep people away from those bad habits.

  • Robyn says:

    I played at many sweepstakes in Charlotte, NC and enjoyed myself. People have to be responsible for themselves. If you go in and spend your whole check and cannot take care of yourself then you made a bad choice. Its like anything else.This horrible situation with unemployment has just been made worse. If an adult has an issue with gambling they should seek help. Closing the sweepstake cafes will not fix that issue there are many ways to gamble.

  • Millanne Schreiber says:

    How is the government allowed to regulate one’s hobbies? What I want to do with my spare money is my choice. Until there is complete transparency in the government why should there be transparency in my extracurricular financial endeavors?

  • Girl who loves the sweepstakes says:

    I think that’s an unfair ruling I actually go play all the time I’m thinking about moving out of north carolina its like they don’t want any type of entertainment. We all just have to sit around in a rut

  • guesty says:

    The government doesn’t like competition.

  • Guest1 says:

    Have you actually read what you wrote? I’m willing to make a guess that you are still finding ways to make bad decisions. It’s not the fault of the cafes. I don’t know a gentle way to phrase this, so, why do you think casinos are so prosperous? Most gamblers weight the odds. Why should this any more illegal than Harrah’s Cherokee Casino – or Georgia’s Lottery (supports a lot of ed projects)?

  • Millanne Schreiber says:

    They certainly due tax them, some are taxed yearly, monthly, or both and/or taxed by the number of machines in the business depending on where they’re located

  • Wendi says:

    I have a sister and a brother that has 2 of these business. I have worked at both of them sometimes seven days a week. There is no way of controlling someones winnings. If you REALLY heard someone say they didnt reset machines it was because new games or updates had been done and you have to restart machine as you would any electronic device.

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