North Carolina Appeals Court Tackles Two Video Game-Style Gambling Cases

October 25, 2011 -

The North Carolina Court of Appeals has scheduled oral arguments today on two lawsuits related to casino-style video games. This comes after two different trial court judges gave different answers last year to the legality of a 2010 law approved by the North Carolina General Assembly. The mixed message delivered by the courts is confusing everyone - from law enforcement to business owners who want to offer their customers access to the machines. Advocates for the law said the change was necessary to end the use of "casino-style video games" that were taking money from citizens three years after a ban on traditional video poker machines in the state took effect.

A Wake County judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by an amusement machine company and upheld the law designed to eliminate video and Internet-based sweepstakes games. Another judge - this time in Guilford County, struck down a portion of the sweepstakes ban as too broad and violation of the First Amendment.

Now it's up to a three-judge panel, which will spend up to two hours hearing arguments in each case. The appellate judges likely won't rule for weeks or months on the cases. Some believe that the fight could end up going all the way to the state's supreme court depending on how the Appeals Court rules.

Of course, the state Attorney General's Office is defending the state in both cases, and asking the panel to uphold the law, which took effect last Dec. 1.

In the Guilford County case, Hest Technologies and International Internet Technologies software sued the state. They market long-distance phone and Internet services that are sold at outlets across the state. They say the computer games they use are a marketing gimmick, not gambling, which allow customers to uncover potential cash and prizes by clicking on computer screens.

Attorneys for the companies said in a court filing that the appeals court should throw out the entire 2010 law because it actually criminalizes "story-driven, arcade-style video games that are wholly unrelated to gambling."

In the Wake County case, Sandhill Amusements argued the 2010 law made it illegal for the company to use video games to show the results of a sweepstakes related to sales of long-distance phone time.

State attorneys told police and sheriff's deputies to enforce only parts of the law that were upheld by both trial judges — and closing down casino-style games and those "not dependent on the skill or dexterity of the player." Other sweepstakes outlets or retailers continued to operate in the days following by replacing slots and Pot-o-Gold with cartoon-style games.

We will have more on this story as it develops.

Source: The Republic

Image provided by Shutterstock. All rights reserved.


 
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PHX Corp@Adam802 We'll break out the popcorn in June12/19/2014 - 9:23pm
ZippyDSMleeMaskedPixelante: I'm itching to start it too but I will wait till the patch goes live. >>12/19/2014 - 7:52pm
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MaskedPixelanteNevermind. Turns out when they said "the patch is now live", they meant "it's still in beta".12/19/2014 - 5:07pm
MaskedPixelanteSo I bought Dark Souls PC, and it's forcing me to log into GFWL. Did I miss something?12/19/2014 - 5:00pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/12/republicans-may-have-plan-to-save-internet-providers-from-utility-rules/ this is intreasting. congress may put net nutrality in to law to avoid title 2 classification12/19/2014 - 2:45pm
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InfophileEZK: Certainly better that way, though not foolproof. Makes me think though: does it count as piracy if you download a game you already paid for, just not from the place you paid for it at? Ethically, I'd say no, but legally, probably yes.12/19/2014 - 11:20am
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ZippyDSMleeMaskedPixelante:And this is why I'm a one legged bandit.12/19/2014 - 10:51am
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MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/12/19/marvel-vs-capcom-origins-leaving-online-storefronts-soon/ Speaking of "last chance to buy", Marvel vs. Capcom Origins is getting delisted from all major storefronts. Behold the wonders of the all digital future.12/19/2014 - 9:59am
MaskedPixelanteSeriously, the so-called "Last Chance" sale was up to 80% off, while this one time only return sale goes for a flat 85% off with a 90% off upgrade if you buy the whole catalogue.12/19/2014 - 9:37am
E. Zachary KnightInfophile, Tha is why I buy only DRM-free games.12/19/2014 - 9:37am
MaskedPixelanteNordic is back on GOG for one weekend only. And at 85% off no less, which is kind of a slap in the face to people who paid more during the "NORDIC IS LEAVING FOREVER BUY NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE" sale, but whatever...12/19/2014 - 9:28am
InfophileRe PHX's link: This is one of the reasons the digital revolution isn't all it's cracked up to be. There's also the flip side where Sony can block access to games you've bought if they ban your account for unrelated reasons. All power is theirs.12/19/2014 - 8:52am
MaskedPixelantehttp://uplay.ubi.com/#!/en-US/events/uplay-15-days You can win FREE GAMES FOR A YEAR! Unfortunately, they're Ubisoft games.12/18/2014 - 6:29pm
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