Court ruling bans video sweepstakes poker in state
A late Fridy ruling handed down by the N.C. Supreme Court overturned a March ruling opening the door to unlimited video gaming in the state.
Numerous laws have been passed by the General Assembly to ban most forms of video gaming, but a 2 to 1 March Court of Appeals ruling determined the law violated free speech.
The N.C. Supreme Court ruling found no merit to that argument, ruling that, “Since the founding of this nation, states have exercised the police power to regulate gambling.”
The ruling clears the way for local law enforcement agencies to begin immediately closing down the video gaming establishments that have cropped up across the county through the years.
After enforcement efforts became difficult in 2009 due to unclear language in the ordinance, Canton, Waynesville and Maggie Valley passed ordinances requiring those operating video gaming devices to pay an annual fee of $2,500 for the first four machines, and up to $750 for each subsequent machine.
The Friday ruling will pave the way for enforcement action, which can now be taken immediately to close down the gaming operations.
Waynesville Police Chief Bill Hollingsed said plans have already been made for the police chiefs and other law enforcement officials to meet with District Attorney Mike Bonfoey to determine how to best proceed.
Hollingsed indicated it would be a coordinated effort so all were “on the same page,” when it came to a time table for enforcing the ban.
There is a 90-day time period to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, the decision that upholds state law banning video sweepstakes gaming can be implemented.
Watch for developments on this issue in future editions of The Mountaineer.