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Moratorium ends, tight restrictions pass on sweepstakes cafes

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The moratorium on internet sweepstakes cafes ended in New Hanover County Monday night when the County Commission adopted a new sweepstakes ordinance. Under the new rules sweepstakes cafes will not be allowed to open within 500 feet of a school, a church or another sweepstakes operation in New Hanover County. The cafes will be limited to 10 machines as well.

Commission chair Jason Thompson says the existing gaming operators have five years to conform to the county's new rules. If they don't conform they'll be forced to shut down.

"It's the most logical decision the county could make to protect the interests of its citizens while not doing undue harm to the owners on the short term," Thompson said. "On the long term, they're probably happy with this, because eventually they'll be non-conforming, and they won't be in business, but for the short term we don't kick them out tomorrow and they lost all of their investments. We're giving the gaming operators time to recoup their investment."

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