Promotions and Special Events in North Carolina
An overview of the regulatory agencies and laws pertaining to the NC Education Lottery, Bingo, boxing, and sweepstakes cafes.
Alcohol Law Enforcement "ALE" as the enforcing agencyALE special agents enforce criminal laws pertaining to lottery, bingo, and gambling. According to N.C. Gen. Stat * 14-292 any organization or person that operates, plays, or bets on any game for which money, property, or other thing of value is at stake is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. Slot machines - devices of a game of chance where the user can receive money or anything of value for inserting coins or tokens - are illegal. Video poker, video cards games, video bingo games, video lotto games, or any game involving random chance not dependent on skill or dexterity of the player are illegal.
The NC Education lotteryThe NC Education lottery was created in 2005 by the NC State Lottery Act. NC barely passed the lottery, with a 24 to 24 tie, where Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue cast the tie-breaking vote in the NC Senate. Governor Mike Easley signed the NC State Lottery Act into law. A 9-member lottery commission oversees all aspects of the lottery. Proceeds from the lottery have resulted in educational programs receiving more than $5.8 billion.
50% of funds are paid as winnings to players. 7% are paid to retailers as commission. 8% is cost of sales. The remaining 35% goes to education proceeds. Since $5.8 billion went to education, the total proceeds of the NC Education Lottery are around $17 billion and counting.
The NC Boxing AuthorityThe NC Boxing Authority regulates boxing, kickboxing, mixed martial arts, and toughman boxing. The Boxing Authority issues more than 1,400 licenses to promoters, judges, referees, announcers, and fighters and maintains records on over 10,000 amateur and professional fighters. The Boxing Authority has the power to monitor, investigate, and issue suspensions and fines. A willful violation of the boxing law is a class 2 misdemeanor, and the director of the SBI may refer any evidence of a violation to the district attorney for that prosecutorial district.
Sweepstakes cafesSweepstakes cafes are business where a customer can buy credits or tokens and play a computerized game in order to win prizes. The mechanisms and games resemble casino games and slot machines, and the sweepstakes cafes rely on technicalities in order to avoid anti-gambling laws.
All of the lotteries, gaming, bingo, and raffles rules and regulations are found in chapter 14, article 37 of the North Carolina General Statutes. Specifically, N.C. Gen. Stat. * 14*306.4 has defined sweepstakes to mean:
"Sweepstakes" means any game, advertising scheme or plan, or other promotion, which, with or without payment of any consideration, a person may enter to win or become eligible to receive any prize, the determination of which is based upon chance.
14*306.4 also has a detailed list which defines prohibited sweepstakes electronic machines and devices. It also includes a list of prohibited *entertaining displays*:
A video poker game or any other kind of video playing card game.
b. A video bingo game.
c. A video craps game.
d. A video keno game.
e. A video lotto game.
f. Eight liner.
h. A video game based on or involving the random or chance matching of different pictures, words, numbers, or symbols not dependent on the skill or dexterity of the player.
i. Any other video game not dependent on skill or dexterity that is played while revealing a prize as the result of an entry into a sweepstakes
In Sandhills Amusement Inc. v. Sheriff of Onslow County, No. COA14-85 (2014), the sweepstakes cafe had five games in kiosks. One of the games was where three reels would be nudged in order to try to align a winning combination. The owner of the cafe stated that *the kiosk operated based on skill and dexterity, rather than chance.* The Court of appeals standard was that * the essential difference between a game of skill and a game of chance for purposes of our gambling statutes, including N.C. Gen. Stat. * 14*306.4, is whether skill or chance determines the final outcome and whether chance can override or thwart the exercise of skill.* In this case, the machines allowed only for a predetermined number of winners. While the player could nudge the symbols in order to improve their chance of winning, the court determined that the player*s skill or dexterity was not able to determine or influence the result over the long haul. The court concluded that the elements of chance dominated the element of skill in this operation.