CHARLOTTE, N.C. – An unregulated, illegal gambling industry is still cashing in, despite a decade-old law that making internet sweepstakes cafes illegal.
The insider went through the process of opening an internet sweepstakes cafe. He’s now sharing the secrets he learned from talking to the people who sell the games.
So far the industry has survived court challenges. The state is currently appealing arguing the games amount to illegal gambling.
State Sen. Andy Wells (R-Catawba) says the law needs to be updated to close the loophole.
“These businesses are not taxed. There are no regulations,” said Wells. “You don’t know when you walk in to play a game if your odds are one in three or one in three million.”
We found that some police agencies can’t go after these gaming parlors. Last November, the State Bureau of Investigation, which enforces anti-gambling laws, raided several businesses , confiscated games and arrested at least nine people. In a news release, SBI warned that games involving “financial wagers, elements of chance, and the lure of winning cash” are “illegal.”
One former CMPD officer says he was told to “stand down” when it came to enforcing the law banning “games of chance.”
“You got a situation where the police are frustrated as can be,” said Wells. “And so am I.”
He says he will work on measures to shut down the games. Last November, SBI warned it “intends to conduct similar operations across the state.”
So why take the risk?
“Everybody wants easy money,” the insider said.
Several law enforcement agencies, including CMPD, the attorney general and Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, which is exempt from state law, all declined to comment.