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Sweepstakes café owners speak out on license fees

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- After Wilmington City Council voted last night to charge internet sweepstakes cafés, café owners are voicing their opinions.

Council voted six to one, with Charlie Rivenbark voting against, to charge internet sweepstakes cafés for licenses. It will cost 24-hour establishments $3,000 per machine per year to operate. For businesses open between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m., it will cost $2,000 per machine per year.

One sweepstakes café owner says the cafés boost the local economy.

"Number one, these places have boosted the economy here," Susan Jones said. "They've given people employment, give people something to do rather than run the streets, drinking because there's no alcohol allowed. There's no drugs allowed. No firearms. A lot of the people are late-night people, so they aren't running in the streets."

Jones supports annual charges, but she says the amount should be $1,500 dollars instead of 3-thousand for 24-hour cafés.

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