make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

Sweepstakes café owners speak out on license fees


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.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


Government forcing their hand in your pockets.....

....taking your money. Well, there's no coddling anymore, no flowers after the fact and definitely no kisses to say thanks. They take your money at THEIR whim and walk away smiling about it. Any opportunity the government finds to dip into someone's income goes full bore and they aren't a bit bashful or ashamed of their greed.
Hey!!! Here's an idea! How about forcing all of the irritating scooter riders to get a moped tag for 50 dollars and then force them to get a 50 dollar vehicle inspection so they aren't riding around without proper lighting, bald tires and no brakes. And then they could tax them as well, SORT OF like the rest of us. If they would even enforce the current 50cc and 30mph max. laws, they would make a fortune. A fortune is what they need because it's very clear they cannot manage the one they already have!!!

I like the idea of the moped

I like the idea of the moped / scooter registration and inspection fee. Maybe "city haul" should check into mandatory bicycle licensing and registration fees too. Why not start ticketing jaywalkers?? Why not issue clean air permits to backyard barbecue operators?

Cutting expenditures seems to be a talent that escapes the ability of the contemporary politician.

Illegal Discrimination

I think the point that everyone keeps missing is that the local government has no legal "right" to charge fees on these machines.

Think about it this way...because North Carolina does not allow "gambling" these places offer services that fall legally under "sweepstakes" laws already existing.

These are the same laws that govern soda companies with winning numbers under the cap. When you go home, log in to a soda company and type in your "code" you are entering a sweepstakes competition. In essence, your home computer just became a sweepstakes terminal!

So, these places sell a product (just like the drink you buy at a fast food joint with a peel off game piece) and then you get free sweepstakes entries. Instead of going home to type in a code on your computer...they PROVIDE a computer for you. The only difference is, when you enter the game it SIMULATES a Las Vegas style game so it looks fun. In the end, just like the soda cap, you may win or lose.

So, what give the city counsel the right to discriminate against these "retailers"? How can they pick on one sweepstakes company...and not on all the others? Can they charge the local McDonalds a fee of $2000.00 for the cup dispensers that dispense the winning or losing peel off ticket cups? There is NO DIFFERENCE!

If they can attack these businesses...then all sweepstakes contests must fall under the SAME regulation or it's blatant discrimination!!!

If it's not discrimination...then they need to explain why they have not taxed soda companies $2000.00 for each cooler that dispenses sodas with sweepstakes under the caps! Or why they have not taxed fast food joints $2000.00 for the cup dispensers that dispense cups with sweepstakes entries on them! Or tax car dealerships for the old "bring this key in and see if you won a car" notifications!

If you use a search engine and look up sweepstakes in North Carolina you see the tourism site ( pop up. If you look at the state's website under the URL( the state is operating over 60 sweepstakes competitions!!!

This boils down to greed, discrimination and politics. What is happening to our state???!!!


Christopher, PLEASE

People who go to McDonalds, or buys a Coke, or any other purchase made with those type of games attached, have something tangible, meaning, they can actually hold it, touch it, feel it, even taste it. Gives them a good feeling, fills them up.
Coming to a Sweepstakes shop/store/business, what do I get for my money? A card for gambling. You said yourself, "it SIMULATES a Las Vegas style game so it looks fun. In the end, just like the soda cap, you may win or lose." At least at McDonalds, I have enjoyed a sandwich and fries. or a Snickers bar, or Mt. Dew. I look at these as extras. Didn't have to pay for them, they were attached.
I could care less about these places. Went to one, not impressed, after Leo Daniels posted about the odds and how the machines are set to pay only certain amounts, I'd think twice before going again.

Food Sweepstakes VS. Video Sweepstakes

A phone card IS a tangible item. For every dollar I put on a phone card...I receive 20 minutes of calling card time anywhere in the USA.

When you purchase one of these phone cards you get FREE sweepstakes entries. In other words, even if I lose on all of the sweepstakes entries...the card's minutes DON'T go away. I still get value for my money.

I am happy that you enjoy food purchases as a way to receive your sweepstakes. However, I enjoy playing sweepstakes and don't wish to consume 20 cups of Coke to enter 20 times. I am admittedly a phone card is a good "diet" for me and a way to still enjoy playing.

I am sorry that you don't enjoy sweepstakes establishments...they are not everyone's proverbial "cup of tea". However, does your dislike for them mean that others do not have the right to spend their hard earned money as they wish?

As for the odds that Mr. Daniel's spoke about...he is correct on all accounts. Sweepstakes contests ALWAYS have set odds. Companies ALWAYS know how many tickets they have released to the world. If they didn't...if it was some sort of random number that was generated...then it would be GAMBLING and NOT sweepstakes.

Sweepstakes competitions always have a finite number of winning tickets. Think of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory...there were only five "Golden Tickets".

When I walk in to a sweepstakes center I know that there are a set number of winners...and I just hope it's me that day.



RE: Illegal Discrimination

They (politicians) don't want these places competing with the lottery. They want their cut. Big government did away with the mafia so they could do the exact same thing with the stroke of a pen and with the guns of "law enforcement".

Thank you. I am with you

Thank you. I am with you all the way on these scooters. Something must be done and the cops must stop turning a blind eye on scooters driving 45mph and not obeying traffic laws. However I'm sure many of these scooter operators don't have any form of photo id making it hard on the cops. thats where the moped tag could come into play.