Union Co. Sheriff's Office to crack down on sweepstakes operator - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Union Co. Sheriff's Office to crack down on sweepstakes operators

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The Union County Sheriff's Office announced Monday that it will be resuming enforcement of a state law which outlaws video sweepstakes games.

The law had been challenged by video sweepstakes operators in North Carolina as unconstitutional, but a December 14 ruling by the North Carolina Supreme Court held the law was constitutional.

The decision opened the door for law enforcement agencies statewide to resume enforcement of the statute.

"No doubt, the owners of these businesses are already working to find loopholes around this law," said Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey. He cited the massive amounts of money that these operators bring in as the driving force behind their continued efforts to circumvent the statute.

"The Supreme Court has issued its ruling, and we're ready to move on it," said Sheriff Cathey. "Sweepstakes operators in Union County had best move on," he continued.

Last week's ruling by the North Carolina Supreme Court may not be the end of the legal fight, because those who have fought gambling aren't rushing to judgment.  

Robert Hageman is Charlotte's City Attorney

"We have seen the supreme court ruling."Hageman said."It's gonna take a while to see what it really means."

Police in Charlotte over the last few weeks have had to deal with the issue of crime.

Cash on hand made one of the parlors the target of a stick up, and even in the outlying here's problems do come.

Matthews Police Chief Rob Hunter is trying to make sense out of the court's decision.

"As long as parties knows what's allowed acceptable and legal, then we can remediate problems there may be, then we can move on with other business, "he said.

Robert Hageman is concerned that more court dates could be on the horizon.

"There possible further appeals and some in the industry have suggested they morph the business to evade the current law."

The Sheriff gave no starting date for the enforcement actions to begin, simply saying that his deputies would begin building cases "immediately."

The battle between N.C. law enforcement and the game operators has been contentious for many years. Numerous court challenges to various iterations of the law banning the games have kept law enforcement agencies hamstrung in enforcing the law, pending the resolution of those court actions, officials told WBTV.

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