Sheriff warns of 'vigorous' enforcement of NC sweepstakes law - FOX Carolina 21

Sheriff warns of 'vigorous' enforcement of NC sweepstakes law

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A player tries their luck at a sweepstakes game. (File/FOX Carolina) A player tries their luck at a sweepstakes game. (File/FOX Carolina)
ASHEVILLE, NC (AP/FOX Carolina) -

Buncombe County Sheriff Van Duncan announced Monday that officers in the county will begin vigorously enforcing the state's ban on sweepstakes machine beginning next week.

Last month, the state Supreme Court denied a request from the sweepstakes game industry to delay an earlier decision that sweepstakes halls are gambling operations. The court's ruling went into effect last week.

The industry had sought a few weeks to see if the U.S. Supreme Court would consider its claim of free-speech protections.

On Monday, Duncan announced that his deputies, along with Asheville police officers, will begin a enforcement blitz next week aimed at shutting down sweepstakes establishments.

"These games are illegal, and we will be enforcing the general statute," Duncan said. "We'll start with a pretty vigorous campaign of enforcing that on the 14th of January."

Duncan said anyone in possession of a video-gaming machine will be arrested and prosecuted. He said those devices will also be seized.

According to reports, a spokesman for sweepstakes operators said about 90 percent of the state's operators will voluntarily shut down.

Copyright 2013 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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