ALE shutters two Internet cafes

From Staff ReportsMay 9, 2014 

N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement agents on Wednesday raided at least two Internet sweepstakes parlors in Johnston County.

Agents spent Wednesday morning at Big Boys Internet Sweepstakes in Kenly, where they removed cash and computers used to play sweepstakes games, according to a witness.

By lunchtime, agents were doing the same at 7Up Internet Cafe on South Bright Leaf Boulevard in Smithfield.

In Kenly, a man who said he was the parlor’s owner escorted a reporter off of his property. In Smithfield, a man in the parlor would not speak to a reporter, but he appeared distraught standing in the emptied storefront.

On the scene in Kenly Wednesday morning, an agent would say only that the ALE was conducting an ongoing investigation. Calls to ALE supervisors in Raleigh were not returned by deadline Wednesday evening.

In 2010, the N.C. General Assembly outlawed sweepstakes parlors, which offer casino-type games played on computers. And late last year, the N.C. Supreme Court upheld that ban.

Since then, many parlors have closed, but others across North Carolina remain open, arguing that they have tweaked their games to comply with state law. And one parlor owner, in Macon County, won a court victory, with a judge saying his games did not violate state law.

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