Thomasville city leaders put freeze on new Internet Sweepstakes licenses

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THOMASVILLE, N.C. — Thomasville city leaders have approved a two-month moratorium on Internet Sweepstakes businesses that have multiplied over the last year.

City leaders called a special meeting Monday to talk about the proliferation of the sweepstakes across the city. There are around 16 that have been granted business licenses and around seven since March.

Two city councilmen said they’d like to see new regulations considered to keep the number of operations at bay.

“Without an ordinance to back us up staff really can’t pick and choose which companies come in and can be approved,” said Kelly Craver, Thomasville City Manager. “If someone who owns a legitimate business comes in and asks for a business privilege license it’s not up to the staff to decide, we like this sort of business or we don’t like this sort of business.”

New software that requires players to know whether they’re playing a wining hand before they bet has allowed the gaming business to find new life after a court ruling shut down most of the gambling sites across the state. But because not every district attorney’s office or city government recognizes new software as a change in the law sweepstakes are finding places that are friendly to the update.

Lee Everheart is one businessman who has taken advantage. A few years ago he sold boats out of his business on National Highway. Tough economic times have convinced him to turn that business in the Gold Mine.

Everheart said the business is not what people expect.

“Customers don’t come in here and they do not put down thousands of dollars or even hundreds of dollars,” said Everheart. “If you come in here on a Friday or Saturday night you’ll see a lot of older people. They have their husbands or their girlfriends and it’s an opportunity to socialize and have fun.”

Everheart said before Gold Mine opened its doors managers met with the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office. Both sides agreed that hours of operation should be limited and there would be no alcohol served at all. Everheart said not every place moving into Thomasville is playing by the same rules though.

“They just need a group of people that can come out and check on them once in a while,” said Everheart. “We want to make sure everyone is happy and nobody is getting taken advantage of.”

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