Sweepstakes parlors could be banned near Cherokee

Sweepstakes establishments in Jackson County may be getting the boot from the U.S. 441 Corridor leading to Cherokee.

Although sweepstakes-style gambling was outlawed by a recent N.C. Supreme Court ruling, County Planner Gerald Green believes it doesn’t hurt to have local laws in place in case the matter isn’t settled.

U.S. 441 corridor is a localized planning district, with rules on what types of commercial development are allowed. Although sweepstakes parlors are not on the list of allowed businesses, they are also not explicitly prohibited. The changes would explicitly prohibit them.

Two sweepstakes establishments existed along the corridor before the state ruling came down. Green said he identified one that may have been open and operating as of last Friday and has notified the Sheriff’s Office. Several sweepstakes businesses around the region have flaunted the law by continuing to operate.

Green said the topic has been discussed for months at local community meetings for the district, and no objections have been raised to banning sweepstakes.

“No one spoke against prohibition at community meetings,” Green said.

However, county commissioners need to approve the change. They will host a public hearing on April 1, followed by a vote.

A commercial property along U.S. 411 owned by Commissioner Jack Debnam was being leased by someone who was running a sweepstakes parlor.

— By Andrew Kasper

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