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Greenville consider tax increase on sweepstakes biz

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -
Greenville is considering raising taxes on internet sweepstakes parlors. They are the latest to announce they are taking steps to increase the taxes on this evolving industry.

Councilman Calvin Mercer is just one of several speaking up about the fees the city currently charges, $250 per location. ---internet sweepstakes parlors pay the city.

“My view is that the fees structure is very low in Greenville compared to other cities, (they) should be in line with other cities.” Mercer said.

Compared to others, Greenville is on the bottom of the totem pole. Asheville, Washington and Wilmington all charge more. Asheville gets $1500 per location and $2,500 per machine. Cities like Washington only charge per machine. ($1000)

Mercer says bringing Greenville’s fees up would only align the city with others.

Early projections suggest the city could generate close to $62,000 if they pass an increase on the city’s 13 stores.

Councilwoman Marion Blackburn spoke up at Monday’s city council meeting. She says the issue is more complicated than that.

“Fayetteville and Rocky Mount have said no sweepstakes… I thought none of them were allowed by state legislative action.”

In January, the Pitt County Sheriff's Office and Greenville Police department seized more than a hundred “Pot of Gold” machines. District Attorney Kimberly Robb determined them to be the only ones that are.

Rob’s interprets machines with a pre-reveal feature or one that lets you know whether you're a winner or loser before you spin to be legal.

The city asked its attorneys to look into the legality of it all before moving forward with a hike. An answer is expected at their April meeting.

Sweepstakes Parlors we spoke to say if the council decides to raise taxes on their industry, their decision may be met with some push back.

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