Kinston Takes Action On Internet Sweepstakes Cafes

Internet sweepstakes cafes are popping up all over eastern Carolina and they're raising concerns and prompting some municipalities to take action.

The cafes allow customers to pay for internet time to play casino type games. State law says it's completely legal, but several municipalities say that's only because owners are getting around a loophole in the law.

Kinston's city council voted Monday night to approve restrictions on how internet sweepstakes cafe's operate. Kinston's council decided these cafes could set up 500 feet from a church, day care, and the like. There can not be more than 20 terminals in one given facility, and they can only operate from 8:00 am until midnight, seven days a week.

The controversy over them stems from customers winning money playing casinos style games over the internet. Operators of these facilities, only sell internet time for players to win, which is not against state law. Scott Stevens is the Kinston city manager and says, "We understand these businesses are legal in the current interpretation under the law and therefore, we're trying to make sure in our community we had some control and development of these facilities."

Kinston's city council is also adding an additional amendment to the ordinance to charge each business owner $500 per machine as an annual privilege license. That will still need to be approved by the planning board.


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  • by Who cares Location: Lenoir, Co. on Mar 29, 2010 at 07:32 AM
    Well I would rather see someone playing a sweepstakes machine rather than buying beer/liquor and getting drunk and ramming into me on my way home from work. At least the folks are not drunk driving. I guess you would rather peeps spend their WELFARE checks on boos. Good one idiot!!
  • by CITIZEN Location: Kinston, NC on Mar 19, 2010 at 07:06 PM
    I dont even play these games, but for human sakes let them playyyyyy! At least they are not out on the streets hurting people.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 17, 2010 at 07:02 PM
    I find the cafes in Kinston to be very pleasant places to spend time. The sign on the door at the one on the hill politely alerts me to "remove my hood beacause I'm on camera" before I ring the door buzzer to see if I'm allowed in. When I visited the other cafe, I found the smoke to be aromatic and didn't at all notice any teeth missing on my fellow internet browsers. I found nothing shady at all about these cafes, and can't imagine why the city is concerned about them.
  • by i hate the lottery Location: wash on Mar 17, 2010 at 06:04 PM
    the only reason a city would take action against an establishment like this is because they cant figure out how to tax it. if they could tax it , they would allow it. the state takes part in the same scheme with even lower odds of winning i expect. the state does it "legally" but dont try it yourself, you could go to jail.
  • by justasking Location: kinston on Mar 17, 2010 at 03:58 PM
    If I knew where one was I would go play there. Where are they? I could play on my lunch hour.
  • by bryon Location: Greenville on Mar 17, 2010 at 03:36 PM
    Hi Neighboring Tenant. i am the owner if one such establishment..you said if people only knew the background of the operation..?? Sounds like you must be in the know .. how about share with me and the rest of the people what it is you know.. i am curious myself..what is it about the "background of the operation" that would make people think bad of these places ...so by all means if your in "the know" share it with us...
  • by john Location: kinston on Mar 17, 2010 at 03:16 PM
    oh yea couple more things...can someone please tell me of another business who's hours can be regulated by the city..?? i can;t think of any..Don;t say bars. because the way i understand it is bars can stay open as long as they would like it is alcohol sales that have to cease at 2am.. well one thing about it if you make these places close at midnight that will at least give them time to get to a bar and get drunk and on the road by 2.. good thinking Kinston..there for a minute I was afraid these people might sit in a non alcohlic safe enviroment too late..shhhhhhh glad to know that isn;t the case...
  • by Gambling Rose Location: Greenville on Mar 17, 2010 at 12:06 PM
    What you do with your money is your own thing, these cafe/bars/stores, that have these machines PAY REAL MONEY, not internet time! People will gamble no matter what, if that is not for you..then so be it. Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Foxwoods Casino in CT are all alive and doing well, and they say people don't have the money to gamble ----- oh yes they do. Too bad most of the people that play these machines do not have a job anyway, WE are supporting them and their habit, I work and I gamble.
  • by Lenoir Co Law Enforcement, what a joke on Mar 17, 2010 at 12:02 PM
    Amazing that Kinston/Lenoir Co has such a high crime rate...You would think murder, shootings, assaults, drugs would take up their time. Only in Kinston/Lenoir Co.
  • by Tod Location: 7 springs on Mar 17, 2010 at 11:48 AM
    Kinston should just shut down. I dont gamble but if people wanna waste their money let them do it. In our country thats supposed to be free right- you cant sell YOUR kidney, cant't sell YOUR body for money, can't kill YOURself, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO PERSONAL FREEDOM?
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