NC Sweepstakes Cafes Still Open Despite Ban

LOUISBURG, N.C. (AP) -- Electronic sweepstakes games are supposed to be illegal in North Carolina. But hundreds of Internet cafes across the state continue to offer the fast-moving games mimicking Vegas-style slots.

Three months after the state Supreme Court unanimously upheld lawmakers' most recent ban, there has been no visible statewide effort by law enforcement authorities to put the multimillion dollar industry out of business.

The North Carolina Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement is granted the explicit responsibility under state law to root out illegal gambling. Public Safety Secretary Kieran Shanahan said Thursday the agency is conferring with local law enforcement and prosecutors on how to best enforce the sweepstakes ban.

Meanwhile, local prosecutors and county sheriffs in more than a dozen jurisdictions have moved ahead. They are raiding cafes, seizing computers, and making arrests.

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