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Sweepstakes ban enforcement

By Michael Hennessey
Published On: May 01 2013 05:08:21 PM CDT
NORTH CAROLINA -

Even though they’re banned, some sweepstakes businesses are still open, like in Pitt County.

Eddie Caldwell from the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association says county sheriffs oversee sweepstakes differently.

He compared the approach some of them are taking to enforcing speed limits saying it’s “clearly a violation of the law to be going 56 miles per hour in a 55 zone.” He continued, saying he doubts “most agencies are charging people who are going one mile over the limit."

Christy Wallace with the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office says it “doesn't matter what the law is and how taxing that task may be or how, um, small it may seem to someone. We still wanna make sure that the people that are in our county are obeying the laws."

Officials say the two sweepstakes businesses in Pitt County changed the software on their machines to fit into a loophole which allows them to stay open.

Caldwell says gambling addiction is one of the reasons lawmakers are trying to ban sweepstakes. "The playing of the game is so addictive that people play the game and lose, you know, their weeks wages thinking well, the next time I play I'm gonna hit it big and get my money back," he said.

But if gambling addiction is part of the reason behind shutting down sweepstakes parlors, what about the lottery? That’s gambling too, right?

Caldwell says the Sheriffs’ Association has “not heard of any problem with people becoming addicted to the lottery and losing their weeks pay buying lottery tickets."

People we talked to know others who have blown a bunch of money on scratch-offs.

Kelly Winborne of Ahoskie said he knows people who have won "a grand, a thousand or two, and then after that, the next year they playing the lotto day and night, day and night, day and night."

Until they get shut down, if it happens, it looks like sweepstakes are going to keep gambling with the law until their luck runs out.

In other sweepstakes related news, Governor McCrory has appointed a new board to decide whether to investigate possible campaign finance violations from his campaign, involving sweepstakes game operators.