Days after a Superior Court Judge in Davidson County ruled in favor of International Internet Technologies (IIT), LLC, the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office has filed a motion asking for the ruling to be dismissed entirely.
On Dec. 14 the state Supreme Court ruled that the 2010 law that outlaws video sweepstakes machines, called N.C. General Statute 14-306.4, is constitutional and therefore can be enforced by law enforcement officers.
On Monday, Superior Court Judge Robert Johnson signed a temporary restraining order that prohibited law enforcement agencies from taking action against sweepstakes business owners who use software made by IIT.
The restraining order said, in part: “This Order enjoins the State of North Carolina from enforcing N.C.G.A. 14-306.4 against IIT and its licensees only. THIS ORDER OFFERS NO PROTECTIONS AS TO ANY OTHER COMPANY OFFERING ANY OTHER SWEEPSTAKES SYSTEM.”
The order was filed by IIT and Hickory Tree Business Center against North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety Kiernan Shanahan and Davidson County Sheriff David Grice.
In response to the temporary restraining order, the state filed a motion to dismiss the case.
The motion to dismiss was filed based on a “lack of subject matter jurisdiction because all issues in this case have been decided … ,” the motion said in part.
The state argues that the issues in the original case called Hest, International Internet Technologies v. State ex rel. Perdue are the same issues in the current case and the Supreme Court has already made a decision about the original case.
“Plaintiffs’ effort to claim that the games ‘system’ they provide now has different timing, or other different facets, does not elude the statute’s reach, or Supreme Court’s holding,” the motion said.
Executive Vice President and General Counsel for the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association, Inc., Eddie Caldwell Jr. said that this case is no different than any other case and that the ruling made by Judge Johnson cannot be applied to the entire state of North Carolina.
“It’s not so much a matter of which county it comes from and which county it applies to, it’s about who got sued,” Caldwell said.
Richmond County Sheriff James Clemmons Jr., who has consistently said he will follow the letter of the law, said that as far as he knows all other sweepstakes businesses in Richmond County, without the IIT software, are no longer in operation.
The business that is in operation and does have the IIT software is JB Business Center in Hamlet, owned by Jerry Bass.
Contacted by the Daily Journal, Bass said that he has no comment on any part of the issue.
Both Caldwell and Noelle Talley, Public Information Officer for the N.C. Department of Justice, are advising law enforcement officers to still investigate local sweepstakes businesses.
“Our advice to law enforcement about enforcement of the law remains the same: that they investigate video sweepstakes operations in their area to determine what games are being played, consult with their local District Attorney, and then take any enforcement action they think necessary against violators. They are welcome to consult with our office as well,” Talley said on Thursday.
The Daily Journal’s efforts to reach District Attorney Reece Saunders on this issue on Thursday were unsuccessful.
A court hearing is scheduled for Feb. 4 in the Davidson County case.
— Staff Writer Laura Edington can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.