RALEIGH -

(AP) - North Carolina's highest court will soon decide whether the state can outlaw video sweepstakes parlors as gambling halls, or whether the video screens give the owners constitutional free-speech rights.
    
The state Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in two cases in which amusement machine companies, a gaming software developer, and firms that market long-distance phone and Internet services seek to overturn a 2010 law banning video sweepstakes machines as a form of gambling.
    
The sweepstakes machines have cropped up since the state outlawed video poker machines outside the western North Carolina Cherokee Indian reservation in 2007. Patrons buy Internet or phone time that gives them the opportunity to uncover potential cash and prizes with mouse clicks on a computer screen.