S.P. Council Tackles Internet Sweepstakes Gaming
Despite a state law that will make Internet sweepstakes gaming machines illegal come December, Southern Pines is taking steps to address the issue.
The Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to amend its ordinances to add a new section that defines gaming operations. The council also amended language in the ordinances to define a gaming operation as a primary occupation if it has more than four machines.
“What we are trying to do is deter the environment,” Mayor Mike Haney said.
The council had set the number of machines at three during a June meeting but changed it to four following a public hearing.
During the public hearing, Richard Frye, owner of Sandhills Amusements, asked the council to make the change in the number to comply with a court order out of Wake County that allows four machines.
North Carolina lawmakers are trying once again to ban video sweepstakes parlors. Earlier this month, the state House voted to concur with action taken earlier in this legislative session by the Senate. Gov. Bev Perdue was expected to sign the bill into law.
However, the future of the law, which is to take effect until Dec. 1, is uncertain. A previous attempt to ban the computer games was undone by a series of lawsuits filed by the industry. The matter is expected to once again wind up in court.
When asked by Councilman David McNeill how the new legislation would affect his businesses, Frye said he was unsure.
“What the legislation did was target Internet game rooms with 20, 30 or 40 machines,” Frye said. “Whether or not I am a casualty of that, I honestly don’t know.”
Proponents of the video games argue that it is a benign form of entertainment and provides jobs and tax revenue. Opponents call it a form of gambling that attracts the people least able to afford such spending.
In other business, the council appointed Michael G. Martin to the Planning Board. He represents the town’s extraterritorial jurisdiction. He replaces Tom Marsh, who resigned last month.
Contact Tom Embrey by e-mail at email@example.com.
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