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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Companies that produce the software behind video sweepstakes games want to delay closing down North Carolina's sweepstakes halls as they seek help from the U.S. Supreme Court.

The companies lost last week when the state Supreme Court upheld a state law declaring the sweepstakes halls as gambling operations. The industry has asked the state Supreme Court to delay enforcement of the law that could shut down hundreds of businesses across North Carolina.

The industry says it needs a few weeks to see if the U.S. Supreme Court will consider its claim of free-speech protections. The high court ruled last year that video games are protected just like books and films.

North Carolina's sheriffs are gearing up to start enforcing the law outlawing video sweepstakes operations next month.

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