Local law enforcement agencies met Friday in Rockingham to discuss the action they will take to uphold the North Carolina Supreme Court ruling on sweepstakes businesses.
Those from the agencies were Richmond County Sheriff James Clemmons Jr., Chief Deputy Mark Gulledge, Rockingham Police Chief Billy Kelly, Sheriff Captain Jay Childers, Rockingham Police Lt. Creed Freeman, Rockingham Police Detective George Gillenwater, Hamlet Police Chief Amery Griffin, and Hamlet Police Captain Scott Waters.
On Dec. 14 the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that the law that outlaws video sweepstakes, called N.C. General Statute 14-306.4, is constitutional and therefore can be enforced by law enforcement officers.
The statute states, in part:
“‘Prize’ means any gift, award, gratuity, good, service, credit, or anything else of value, which may be transferred to a person, whether possession of the prize is actually transferred, or placed on an account or other record as evidence of the intent to transfer the prize.
‘Sweepstakes’ means any game, advertising scheme or plan, or other promotion, which, with or without payment of any consideration, a person may enter to win or become eligible to receive any prize, the determination of which is based upon chance.”
The law also states that:
“Notwithstanding any other provision of this Part, it shall be unlawful for any person to operate, or place into operation, an
electronic machine or device to do either of the following:
(1) Conduct a sweepstakes through the use of an entertaining display, including the entry process or the reveal of a prize.
(2) Promote a sweepstakes that is conducted through the use of an entertaining display, including the entry process or the reveal of a prize.”
Officials said the decision became effective on Jan. 3.
Law enforcement officers were told that lawyers for the sweepstakes industry sent out a recent memo that indicates that some companies may convert their machines to a different system that they claim may not violate the statute.
Local law enforcement agencies are planning to go around to sweepstakes businesses in Richmond County next week and make contact with the owners. They will then give the owners found in possession of an illegal machine a written notice that will give them 10 days to comply with the law.
Clemmons said that he wants to give store owners time to comply with the law before law enforcement takes any legal action.
— Staff Writer Laura Edington can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.