After two years of court battles statewide, Internet sweepstakes operators and Rocky Mount police appear headed for a showdown this week. If we had to wager, we would bet on the police department.
As Telegram business writer John Henderson reported Sunday, Rocky Mount Police Chief James Moore sent registered letters to Internet sweepstakes cafes warning owners that unless they comply with state law by today, police will begin shutting down the cafes they operate.
The action comes long after the N.C. General Assembly moved to outlaw Internet sweepstakes games.
That’s because sweepstakes operators and their lawyers have kept the issue in court for much of the past two years. But with a December ruling by the N.C. Supreme Court that upholds the law banning video gambling, the sweepstakes operators are on considerably shakier ground.
We’re glad to see it. The games are little more than a money grab with the odds stacked heavily in favor of the house.
The cafes sell a game of chance in the guise of Internet time to patrons. In return, the customers spin the wheel on an electronic game that pays out cash prizes.
Some sweepstakes operators believe they’ve responded to the Supreme Court ruling by building an “instant reveal” button into the program – the customer no longer needs to spin a video wheel to see if he’s won.
The newest wrinkle probably will get its day in court, too.
Until then, we’re glad to see Rocky Mount police shutting down games that too often separate money from the folks who can least afford to lose it.