11/30/10 — They're out ... Sweepstakes games skirted the issue, and they should be gone

View Archive

They're out ... Sweepstakes games skirted the issue, and they should be gone

There is a fine line between governing and babysitting -- and the some say the new law that goes into effect tomorrow banning sweepstakes games in North Carolina is more about Big Brother than any real violation of the law.

Its proponents have hauled out every argument they can possibly think of to get the ban overturned -- even claiming rights violations.

But the bottom line is simple -- the N.C. Legislature has outlawed video poker, and like it or not, sweepstakes games are absolutely a way for previous owners of video poker machines to skirt the video poker ban.

The concept behind the games is the same, the player has a chance to "win" money. They look very much like video poker machines. And, most importantly, they are "sold" in a manner that borders on deception -- come in and win Internet time that you can "sell" back to take home a profit. So the businesses tout themselves as Internet cafes, not gambling spots. Some even call themselves "business centers."

Right. And if you do not think that is gambling, we have a piece of swamp land to sell you in Florida.

Wednesday's ban is a sad day for the owners of these sweepstakes parlors because they will be losing a lucrative lure that makes people come in, spend money they should be spending somewhere else and nets the owners a tidy profit.

And they are right about one thing -- people should have the choice about how they spend -- or waste -- their money. But such a practice, if banned by the state of North Carolina, needs to be upheld for every mutation of that practice. So, the ban is absolutely, the right thing to do.

Published in Editorials on November 30, 2010 10:38 AM