RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina's highest court is about to decide whether that video sweepstakes cafes that often mimic casinos in big-city strip malls to country crossroads will disappear or multiply.

The state Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in two cases in which state attorneys defend a 2010 law banning video sweepstakes machines as a form of gambling. The state Court of Appeals struck down the ban in March.

A software developer and firms that market long-distance phone and Internet services contend their business is entitled to constitutional free-speech protections. A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling protects video games just like books and films.

The case comes at a time the state's only casino recently expanded beyond video poker and slots and started hiring card dealers for live gaming.

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