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House passes bill to ban sweepstakes cafes


RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- The North Carolina Legislature has made clear its 2006 video poker ban also applies to computer-based sweepstakes games that have popped up inside old store fronts and strip malls statewide.

The House agreed Wednesday by a vote of 86-27 to back a Senate bill approved last month that would do away with the games which have become popular at hundreds of Internet cafes and business centers.

The measure now goes to Gov. Bev Perdue's desk for her signature. If she approves, it would become law December 1. Center operators say the ban would eliminate thousands of jobs during the bad economy by getting rid of a game that's a form of entertainment, not gambling, but machine opponents argue the games are designed to get around the 2006 video poker ban.

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