More sweepstakes parlors are re-opening in Charlotte - | WBTV Charlotte

More sweepstakes parlors are re-opening in Charlotte


Some video sweepstakes parlors are re-opening in Charlotte, a week after a law went into effect banning the games. Meanwhile, police in Charlotte are preparing to deliver letters to owners and operators reminding them of the law.

CMPD says police will be dropping off letters Thursday and Friday to Internet sweepstakes parlors to make sure owners and operators understand the law. 

Pot O' Gold on Independence Boulevard is back on open. Taped to the front door is a letter from their attorney explaining why the parlor is open again. 

The manager showed WBTV why they believe their machines are in compliance with the law. The manager says they've upgraded their software with a reveal - so prizes are immediately displayed. Players know how much they've played and what they may or may not have won.

The industry says the conversion is different from the "entertaining displays" that resemble gambling  - which the state supreme court banned.

CMPD will be heading out to about 100 parlors in the area. Police say their letter is the first step. 

 Deputy Chief Vicki Foster says "I anticipate many will be re-opening in the days to come because it doesn't take that long to upgrade software and that's one of the reasons why it's a priority for us to get out quickly and get the information out quickly because we do anticipate that people will be reopening."

Mark Newbold, the police attorney, says "one group of attorneys who represents one of the companies came down and showed us how their operation worked and why they felt it was in compliance". He says "they're going to be meeting with a second group of folks - looking at their software".

 Deputy Chief Foster says they want to make sure owners and operators understand police will take action if parlors are open and not in compliance. "We'll determine things individually, depends upon the business and what we have going on at each location".

Police estimate there are about 100 parlors in their area. Even politicians are getting involved in the conversation.

"I really think that trying to put them out of business is a losing proposition. I don't think we can do it, " said State Representative Kelly Alexander.

Alexander says the only way to fix what he calls a problem, is to tax sweepstakes parlors, and regulate them better. Alexander says Mecklenburg County parlors are not taxed.

Deputy Chief Foster says "software is different for different vendors. There are certain things the detectives and officers can look for to determine compliance - a lot of different rules. There's a laundry list of rules that could cause a machine to be in compliance or not in compliance".

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