Full Enforcement of Sweepstakes Laws Begins March 1, 2015

"A ruling by the North Carolina Court of Appeals in Nov. 2014 that “pre-reveal” sweepstakes machines are subject to criminal prosecution has provided Greensboro officials with greater clarity on how to enforce the laws.

            Beginning Mar. 1, 2015, Greensboro police will begin fully enforcing the statute that makes it illegal to conduct or promote sweepstakes through the use of an entertaining display. Prior to the Court of Appeals ruling, “pre-reveal” technology was a confusing issue for trial courts around the state, resulting in unequal enforcement in different jurisdictions. The court found no distinction between a “pre-reveal” game and a “post-reveal” game, finding that a game of chance took place no matter when the prize was revealed.

            Owners of sweepstakes cafes have been mailed a letter from Interim Chief of Police Anita Holder advising them of the change in interpretation of law, and giving owners 60 days to voluntarily comply with the statue by ceasing operation of the machines.

            “Given the confusion surrounding the law, we think it’s only fair that sweepstakes machine owners be afforded an opportunity to voluntary comply with the most recent interpretation of the statute,” said Holder. “Most owners are not the criminal type. They are business owners who went through proper channels for licensing.”

            More than 70 business owners believed to operate sweepstakes machines have been mailed the letters. However, the City does not have visibility over businesses with stand-alone machines. These owners must also comply with the ‘cease operation’ edit, or face criminal action.

                        Any person who violates N.C. General Statute Section 14-306.4 is guilty of a Class 1 Misdemeanor for the first offense and is guilty of a Class H Felony on the second offense.  Devices used to promote that criminal act are subject to seizure until the matter is heard by the court."

- A Press Release

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