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CAROLINA SHORES—The town will leave it up to higher powers to determine the future of sweepstakes businesses.
Since last week’s state Supreme Court ruling granting law enforcement authority to enforce a state ban on the machines, the town should check with the sheriff’s office to monitor local establishments’ activities, town administrator Mike Hargett said.
The town will “wait and see what the attorney general tells the sheriff’s department,” Hargett said, speaking at the town board of commissioners’ monthly workshop Monday morning.
“We’re not in a position to determine the ruling and whether software complied with the law or not,” Hargett said. “That’s why the sheriff’s department is taking its time [with enforcement]. It would take a tremendous amount of research to determine what is required. You’d almost have to be a computer science major to determine that.”
Carolina Shores Mayor Walter Goodenough said, “If the Supreme Court says it’s illegal, then the state should not be reissuing permits.”
Current privilege licenses at such businesses under town domain are valid through June 30.
“We won’t be faced with issuing an additional privilege license till the end of June,” Hargett said. “I suspect by then this will be resolved one way or the other.”
Town commissioner Joyce Dunn said the town’s only approach is “don’t reissue licenses.”
Goodenough said “90 percent” of the businesses appear to have shut down since last week’s ruling, except for one big establishment in Calabash.
However, town commissioner Greg Davis noted two sweepstakes businesses along U.S. 17 near the state line in Carolina Shores’ extraterritorial jurisdiction have since re-opened.
The manager of Winner’s World along that stretch, at 10200 U.S. 17, said that business had shut down because machines were removed from there.
The business was robbed in the early morning hours of Nov. 29, and five suspects have since been arrested and charged.
Another Winner’s World site in Calabash is still open “24/7,” an employee there said Monday.
Two years ago, at midnight on Dec. 1, 2010, the Internet version of the sweepstakes games at most local establishments were officially stopped in accordance with a new state law that took effect banning the games. But by the following Monday, the businesses started opening back up after proprietors said they had upgraded their software.
Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email email@example.com.