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Wake checking legality of video gaming cafes

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

Deputies in Wake County are now making a sweep of those video sweepstakes cafes.  But owners of these Internet and video gaming devices say they are in compliance with the law and are being unfairly treated.

The owner of one sweepstakes café -- who did not want to be identified -- said his video machines are legal because they tell you in advance what you will get, eliminating chance.

But when Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby was asked if the machines can be tweaked to be legal, said, "Well, you can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig. In this case just changing some minor display doesn't change the substance of the game and the game is gambling."

Following a long legal battle, the North Carolina Supreme Court decided video gaming in the state is illegal.

In response, many sweepstakes cafe purchased a new software in hopes of staying open.

An attorney for VS2 Worldwide Communications, which makes gaming software, said it's new system "is not conducted through the use of an entertaining display, including the entry process or reveal of a prize."

But Willoughby said, "If they stay in this business, they can expect to be investigated and if they are violating the law they can expect to be prosecuted."

But asked if he was concerned, the café owner said: "No, I'm not concerned. Law enforcement is supposed to protect me."

The café owner said the state was willing to take $20,000 for his video license, and if he gets shut down he at least wants his money back.

Deputies will visit these cafes and inspect them before any raids take place.

If they still do not comply, those café owners could be charged with a misdemeanor.

In Cumberland County, officials announced a crackdown last week.

Melanie Sanders

Melanie anchors the 6 PM news. Her "What's Next" series features an engaging approach to storytelling and highlights the leaders in innovation who are shaping our future. Check it out HERE! More>>

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