Law enforcement cracks down on sweepstakes businesses

Law enforcement cracks down on sweepstakes businesses

JACKSONVILLE - Those working in Onslow County law enforcement could soon be making stops by sweepstakes businesses still operating in the county.

Monday, Onslow County District Attorney Ernie Lee said the county will be actively enforcing internet sweepstakes bans put forward by the North Carolina General Assembly. The bans took affect in early January. Since that time,  sweepstakes businesses have tried to install new software which would make their businesses legal again.

In the statute, sweepstakes machines with "entertaining displays" were deemed illegal. New software added an option to take away any visually entertaining displays. However, those in Onslow County said that doesn't make the businesses legal.

"No sooner is a lottery defined and the definition applied to a given state of facts, than the ingenuity of man is at work to find some scheme of evasion," Lee said, quoting a 1915 NC supreme court ruling on gambling.

Starting Tuesday, law enforcement will start charging anyone running illegal sweepstakes businesses with a misdemeanor for the first offense. Subsequent offenses are felonies.

Onslow County follows both Craven and Carteret Counties in the enforcement of these bans.

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