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HICKORY, NC (AP) — A judge’s ruling in a Catawba County sweepstakes cafe case is giving hope to operators in their battle to stay open in North Carolina.

District Court Judge Amy Sigmon said this week that a sweepstakes worker charged with operating an illegal sweepstakes business was innocent.

The woman was arrested in January with the two owners of a cafe in Hickory.

The arrests came one month after the state Supreme Court upheld legislation making it unlawful to possess a game terminal that simulates slot machines or are used for the display of electronic sweepstakes.

The employee’s attorney, Lisa Dubs, said Friday a recent change by the sweepstakes software provider put the machines in compliance with state law because it revealed the winners in advance.

She called the judge’s decision significant.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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