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Bill seeks to legalize sweepstakes cafes, games

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

A bill to legalize and tax sweepstakes cafes in North Carolina has been filed by legislators whose campaigns accepted cash from gaming operators.

The bill introduced Wednesday would mark a reversal of course for the state legislature.

The General Assembly has previously approved three laws to outlaw video poker and electronic sweepstakes. The North Carolina Supreme Court in December upheld the ban, resulting in recent raids and arrests.

Records show bill sponsors Rep. Jeff Collins, R-Nash, and Rep. Michael Wray, D-Northampton, received campaign checks from known sweepstakes operators.

Collins got $2,500 days before the November election from Chase Burns, an Oklahoma man indicted last month in Florida over accusations he helped operate a fake veteran's charity that received $300 million from illegal gambling, but spent only 2 percent on vets.

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