Sunday October 21, 2012 : PENNSYLVANIAN CYBER SWEEPSTAKES CAFES WARNED TO CLOSE
Mercer County DA gets tough on operators
Internet sweepstakes parlours in Mercer County, Pennsylvania have been warned by local District Attorney Robert G. Kochems that they must close up shop by next week if they wish to remain compliant with state law.
In a warning letter, Kochems wrote: “I will direct law enforcement authorities to begin prosecuting violations of the law beginning October 22. This gives you time to give notice to your employees and to see if a new stay of the law is agreed to.”
The businesses have been operating for about a year in Pennsylvania, offering a potentially profitable game with prizes in an attempt to avoid legal consequences.
Recently the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania's Judge Robert D. Mariani denied a motion for a restraining order and preliminary injunction filed by an operator of the machines in Luzerne County.
Judge Mariani's ruling lets stand a law Gov. Tom Corbett signed June 30 to close legal loopholes exploited by sweepstakes operators.
Internet sweepstakes operate by selling customers phone cards which enter them into a finite sweepstakes pool. People either can redeem the cards immediately to find out if they’ve “won” or “lost,” or use the cards to purchase Internet time and play casino-like games to eventually reveal if they’ve “won” or “lost.”