ELIZABETHTOWN — Some Internet Sweepstakes/Gaming establishments have recently been getting acquainted with the new laws regarding video gambling — and three local establishments have received visits from local law enforcement to make sure everything was on the level.
The legislation regarding Internet gaming/sweepstakes was allowed to take effect Jan. 3, thanks to a N.C. Supreme Court ruling in December. Owners of video gaming establishments have been wrangling with state officials over the new law in the state’s judicial system since its adoption by the N.C. General Assembly.
Capt. Rodney Hester with the Bladen County Sheriff’s Department said deputies have been out visiting establishments that have the games and making the owners aware of the new law. Three businesses in Bladen County — Aladin Sweepstakes in Dublin and businesses located on Robeson Street in Tar Heel and 2229 U.S. Hwy. 701 North, Elizabethtown — were visited.
”We went to those businesses to start an investigation as to whether they are in compliance or not,” said Hester. “The owners were informed of the law and if they were determined to be in violation, then they could be charged. There were no charges.”
In the town of Elizabethtown, Police Chief Bobby Kinlaw said that currently there are no Internet sweepstakes establishments operating.
“Right now, I don’t know of a single one in operation today. All of them are closed as of right now,” said Kinlaw.
District Attorney Jon David sent a letter and held meetings with local law enforcement agencies earlier this year to discuss the new legislation and enforcement issues.
The U. S. Supreme Court refused to grant a request from the owners of the video gaming establishments asking that they be allowed to remain open while the owners appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to reports.
According to reports, on Wednesday, Dec. 19, a judge denied the request to delay the closings. The owners of the businesses were seeking the delay to allow them time to see if the U.S. Supreme Court would consider the industry’s argument that the forced closures violate free speech.