CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) –
Businesses around Charlotte may be finding a way to bring back electronic games with cash payouts.
Several years ago, sweepstakes parlors across the state were busted after a ban on them went all the way to the State Supreme Court.
Now they may be returning.
A sense of mystique can be found inside what many consider a new gaming parlor. The outside of one establishment along West Boulevard bills the business as an arcade. Inside you’ll find dark rooms with the lure of cash and payoffs ranging in the thousands of dollars.
Shawn Miller manages the locale, which has three rooms with various computer screens that offer a series of video games and an ATM.
While big money prizes are boldly advertised, Miller says that hitting the jackpot isn’t connected to gambling.
“People just come in and enjoy themselves and play games,” he said. “If somebody wins 500 points, their total winnings may be a thousand dollars.”
Mujeeb Shah Khan, Monroe’s city attorney, remembers the controversy connected to sweepstakes games and video poker operations while serving on the City of Charlotte’s legal staff.
Nearly half a dozen of the new operations have popped up in Monroe, and one arcade that goes by the name “Legends” may be violating the town’s zoning laws.
“You can’t have an electronic gaming establishment within 400 feet of schools, parks, other gaming establishments or houses,” Shah Khan said. “This one was within 400 feet of houses.”
Legends has been served with several notices of violation and the case may head to court. Back in Charlotte, a so-called arcade isn’t offering games of chance that some say break the law.
“These games here are skilled games,” Miller said. ”I don’t worry about getting shut down because, like I said, there is no gambling going on or nothing like that.”
CMPD investigators are meeting with the District Attorney’s office to determine the games’ legal status.