WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. --- The North Carolina Supreme Court has ruled internet sweepstake games are illegal.
Lawyers for the cafes argued the businesses are protected by free speech, while the state pushed the idea of winning prizes for buying phone or internet time is a form of gambling.
The North Carolina Supreme Court has ruled with the state.
The court ruling means the cafes can be closed.
Local law enforcement officials are waiting for advice from the North Carolina Department of Justice before enforcing the court's decision.
Internet sweepstake cafe supporters say closing the businesses could put thousands of people out of work and cities would lose tax revenue.
Winston-Salem has collected over 700,000 dollars by taxing internet sweepstake cafes.
Winston-Salem will not allow additional internet cafes to open, because of the court's ruling.