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More sweepstakes cafes forced to close after DA’s warning

WASHINGTON, N.C. (AP) — Prosecutors in eastern North Carolina are threatening criminal charges against sweepstakes cafe operators, the latest round in a five-year battle between business owners and officials who call the games a form of gambling.

District Attorney Seth Edwards issued warning letters to sweepstakes operators in Washington, Beaufort, Tyrrell, Martin, and Hyde counties. Alcohol Law Enforcement agent Rusty King tells WITN-TV ( businesses received the letters on different days, but Monday is the final cutoff.

State lawmakers banned Internet-based sweepstakes games with in 2010 after years of seeking to outlaw electronic gambling. The state Supreme Court upheld the law in 2012.

Since then, some police and prosecutors have shut down sweepstakes cafes while others allow the parlors to keep operating. Sweepstakes operators say they’ve changed software to comply with the law.

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