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Wilmington begins to end electronic sweepstakes

Last week electronic sweepstakes machines were officially considered illegal in North Carolina. But according to Wilmington officials, there are still a number of establishments operating machines throughout the city and it’s only a matter of time before code and law enforcement step in.

According to the Wilmington City Attorney’s office, as of Wednesday, 13 establishments are still operating electronic sweepstakes, or online gambling machines. Attorneys representing sweepstakes companies are hoping to file a petition to appeal North Carolina’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. In the meantime, District Attorneys Ben David and Jon David sent out a memorandum to law enforcement to take each investigation on a case-by-case basis. Wilmington city officials say code enforcement is gearing up to send out violation notices, giving establishments 30 days to comply with code, which now means stop operating machines. More than $2 million in privilege licensing taxes is owed to the city of Wilmington by sweepstakes establishments. Assistant City Attorney Joseph Betts says officials are awaiting a court decision involving the city of Lumberton before deciding whether or not to pursue the back taxes.