Earlier this week the state legislature decided to ban internet sweepstakes cafés across the state. All it needs is the governor's signature. So what's next for the businesses once the governor's pen hits the paper?
"I'm kind of at a loss, literally," said John McFalls, the manager at Triple 7 Sweepstakes in Wilmington. He said he's more than disappointed with the state's push to ban sweepstakes cafés. He thinks a closer look needs to be made before Governor Perdue signs the ban into law. "I don't think our leaders are thinking about the little people, they are making these decisions that are affecting thousands of people and they're really not thinking it through."
McFalls says the impact will affect everyone from the top to the bottom. Owners will be forced out of business, leaving shopping center spaces empty and customers disappointed.
"I had a customer yesterday who was furious with the whole thing, and he said with his own mouth, 'You know, I come in here 'cause I want to come in here,'" McFalls said.
The question now is what's next for sweepstakes cafés, which were the answer back in 2006 when video poker was banned.
"We actually have a back-up plan," McFalls said. "We're not throwing in the towel. Our manager/owner evidently saw this possibility months ago, because he's been working on a back-up plan. When December 1 rolls around, we're not shutting our doors. We have something new lined up."
Though Triple 7 wouldn't go into detail on what they have lined up, they did say it's similar to sweepstakes games now.
The law would make it a misdemeanor for anyone operating a game. Repeat offenders could face a low-grade felony punishable by up to 2.5 years in prison.