Glowing computers with games offering the opportunity to win prizes line the walls of the dimly lit P & K Internet Cafe on U.S. 70.
CLAYTON -- As state leaders and the North Carolina Supreme Court examine the legality of quasi casinos known as sweepstakes parlors, the Town of Clayton is planning to set standards for such businesses locally.
There are four sweepstakes parlors in Clayton where residents can be mesmerized by video screens as they play to potentially win cash and prizes. The state Court of Appeals struck down a 2010 law banning video sweepstakes machines as a form of gambling in March. That cleared the path for new sweepstakes parlors to open, including the newest in Clayton, called Net Media. It is located in Food Lion Plaza and opened in July.
“We continue to have people applying to open them,” said Stacy Beard, spokeswoman for the town of Clayton.
Last week, the town’s planning director David DeYoung discussed with the town’s planning board the need to set standards for the sweepstakes parlors in Clayton, including setting hours of operation, and regulating the sale of alcohol, and number of gaming machines.
According to Beard sweepstakes parlors can now operate 24 hours, and one of them does. H & L Business Center, which has around 60 gaming machines, stays open around the clock.
The proposed hours the planning board came up with would allow the parlors to be open from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday. The parlors could stay open until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Other standards discussed at the planning board meeting include restricting the sale of alcohol, and limiting the number of machines to a maximum of 100 machines.
Right now, there is one parlor in Clayton permitted to have 100 machines, though it currently doesn’t hold that many.
The Town Council will examine the recommended regulations proposed by the planning board and determine whether they will be instated.
If passed, the sweepstakes centers currently open will have a year to come into compliance with the standards.