Group meets for "webinar" on sweepstakes ban

Group meets for "webinar" on sweepstakes ban (Reporter: Amanda Brannon)

Pitt County Sheriff's Office and the Pitt County District Attorney's Office took part in an online seminar Wednesday morning.

The "webinar" was put on by the University of North Carolina School of Government. The purpose of it was to discuss the sweepstakes ban and how it applies to local law enforcement agencies.

Since the ban went into effect on Jan. 3, some sweepstakes business owners have closed up shop. However, other business owners have reopened with a new computer software they say is not gambling.

"The new program is not [gambling]. People have more of a chance of winning than going to the store and wasting money on something they can't see like a lottery ticket," said a patron who wanted to known as "Mother Bear."

These new programs give you instant results without playing a game to see if you've won. Business owners believe because there's an option to not see the numbers spinning then the games should be considered legal. "Mother Bear" agrees.

"That's better than me going to the store and buying a lottery ticket. And when the numbers are called at the end of the night you don't get nothing. Here you put in a dollar and win a little something. It's more than what you put in and you can walk out the door and thank the Lord for it," she said.

Sheriff Neil Elks and the DA's office took part in a "webinar" with more than 100 agencies from across the state to discuss the recent changes in the law.

"This week we're actually going to be viewing the new software. The company is making that available to us to look at. So, the test is out on whether or not it's going to be legal and that's to be decided," Sheriff Elks said.

Once the group makes a decision, Sheriff Elks said they will start contacting the sweepstakes businesses to make sure they are in compliance.

"At this point we haven't had any complaints or any concerns brought to us," Sheriff Elks said.

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