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NC appeals courts considers sweepstakes machines

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina law enforcement and business owners are seeking clarity on whether all video sweepstakes machines are illegal, or if a law trying to end their existence tramples on free speech rights.

The state Court of Appeals scheduled oral arguments Tuesday on two lawsuits after trial court judges gave different answers last year.

The 2010 law attempted to quash gambling parlors that remained open after a 2007 ban on traditional video poker machines and another law in 2008. Sweepstakes outlet operators say letting customers click on computer screens to uncover potential cash and prizes is a marketing gimmick to buy Internet or phone time, not gambling.

One judge upheld the entire law to ban the machines. Another judge struck down part of the law, allowing certain machines to remain online.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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