Local/State

Wake County video parlors on notice

Friday, March 29, 2013

Video sweepstakes parlors in Wake County are on notice. District Attorney Colon Willoughby told ABC11 Friday he's ready to move on any case made out against owners and employees who violate a state law banning such gambling that was recently upheld by the state Supreme Court.

For years, sweepstakes parlors stayed open while their legalities were debated in state courts. In January, the state's highest court ruled the parlors are gambling operations and illegal.

Some operators made subtle changes based on recommendations from their attorneys. But now, Willoughby says he's studied the businesses in his county and has formed his opinion.

"You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig.  And, and that's what we have here, and I think it's incumbent on us to try to enforce the law," he explained.

Willoughby says enforcement will begin April first - Monday - but he doesn't expect county-wide busts immediately.

"We're not setting up to go raid someone Monday, but if they're in business on Monday, we will ask law enforcement to conduct an investigation.  And we will investigate them and if we find violations we'll seek to prosecute," he said.

In Cumberland County, there were raids on sweepstakes parlors this week. When that happened, dozens of other parlors voluntarily closed their doors. Willoughby said he expects there may be a similar scenario in Wake.

But he also anticipates some parlors in might continue to operate, get busted, and test the law again. Willoughby said if that doesn't happen in Wake, he would expect it to happen somewhere else in the state because the business is a big money maker.

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