With new software, some sweepstakes parlors remain open

With new software, some sweepstakes parlors remain open

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by BORA KIM / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @BoraKimWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on January 11, 2013 at 8:43 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 11 at 8:43 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A number of Charlotte area sweepstakes parlors are now open for business. This comes just one week after A Supreme Court ruling forced the closure of all sweepstakes places state-wide.

"It's just an adjustment thing," said Jay Holiday, who re-opened Niagara Falls Sweepstakes on Beatties Ford Road late Friday.

Two dozen computers had remained turned off as they began uploading new software from their sweepstakes software provider, Frontier Games.

The transition was as simple as a click of the mouse for operators like Holiday. Attorney Michael Grace, however, representing another major sweepstakes software maker said the process for the software companies has been "slow and expensive."

He is confident though that his client, International Internet Technologies (IIT) based in Oklahoma, have made the necessary changes to meet state requirements. According to Grace, the most visible changes involve what customers will see on the computer screen.

"It's not having an image on your computer that is prohibited. It is the use of that image in conjunction with the sweepstakes," Grace said. He also noted that participants will instantly know if they are sweepstakes winners.

"There is no fun and entertaining display. You go to the computer and push a button and it displays on the computer in two places on the screen what, if any, prize you have won. There is no fun and entertaining games or displays either at the entry point or the reveal point."

Grace has met with CMPD on behalf of IIT.

"We felt like we are doing it right so we didn't have any problems, and they were gracious enough to allow us to come in," Grace said.

CMPD announced Thursday that it will send notice letters explaining the statute to all 100 sweepstakes parlors in the county. Investigators will begin making compliance checks and determine on a case by case basis if the software used by sweepstakes operators meets rules and regulations.

Customers have no choice but to adjust to the changes.

Holiday said he will probably lose some business, but he is determined to stay open. Despite what many may think about sweepstakes parlors, he said his business offers a valuable service to the community. He described it as a muti-generational gathering place for families and as an internet provider in an area where computers are not always easily accessible.

"Everybody comes here to relax. Some people come to play the games. Once they play the games they use their internet time or Facebook."

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