Sweepstakes Case To Be Heard Soon

The owners of the 3D Business Center will definitely not be allowed to function sweepstakes gaming machines while waiting for trial in their case testing the new law that bans such games in New Hampshire.

 

1-877-WIN-CAFE Sweepstakes Players

Rockingham Superior Court Judge Larry Smukler last week denied a basic injunction filed by Scott and Cindy Loring, owners of 3D Business Center, which has sites in Portsmouth and Seabrook.

Smukler ruled the Lorings failed to show “a substantial likelihood of success” on their lawsuits that sweepstakes gaming is guarded under the First Amendment and Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.

The court agreed with lawyers from the state attorney general’s office, who said the new law is a law of conduct and not a regulation of expressive activity.

The Lorings submitted the claim last month against the attorney general after Gov. John Lynch signed House Bill 1260 into law.

While slot machines are prohibited in New Hampshire, the sweepstakes machines were legal before the new law entered effect June 18.

Attorney Patrick Fleming, exemplifying 3D Business Center, suggested throughout a July 12 hearing that sweepstakes gaming is nothing greater than a deal for the Lorings’ business, which offers Internet, copying, faxing and phone card services.

Fleming argued in court that it’s not gambling because customers do not need to buy anything to play the games, the outcomes of which are predetermined.

Customers are allowed to play 100 games complimentary, but if they desire to play more, they have to buy one of the center’s items, such as a phone card. Even if consumers lose in the sweepstakes game, Fleming claimed, they still win the phone cards.

Brian Buonamano of the attorney general’s office remarked the state views the legislation outlawing sweepstakes machines as a law of conduct.

They likewise said that if the Lorings were offering a legitimate item that individuals desired, they would not require sweepstakes machines to get them in the door.

Supporters of the new law called sweepstakes games a back-door method to gambling.

The Lorings submitted an application for a basic injunction to permit them to utilize the games, specifying they have lost 80 to 90 percent of their business since the law entered effect.

Smukler ruled that it is clear the consumers of 3D Business Center are acquiring telephone cards to play the computer terminals rather than to make calls.

Although the Lorings may supply long-distance telephone gain access to as a product, Smukler ruled, in reality, the product is a chance to play casino-style games that add or take off points and credits that consumers may transform to cash.

Smukler commented the state has the capacity to moderate sweepstakes operations in a fashion reasonably connected to its legitimate interests.

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New Hampshire Judge Considered First Amendment Protection

The managers of the 3D Business Center will not be authorized to run sweepstakes gaming machines while waiting for court in their case testing the new law that prohibits those types of games in New Hampshire.

Rockingham Superior Court Judge Larry Smukler last week did not approve an initial injunction filed by Scott and Cindy Loring, business managers of 3D Business Center, which has sites in Seabrook and Portsmouth.

Smukler ruled the Lorings was unsuccessful in disclosing “a substantial likelihood of success” on their claims that sweepstakes gaming is defended under the First Amendment and Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.

The court acceded with lawyers from the Attorney General’s Office, that announced the new legislation is a law of conduct and not an operation of expressive task.

The Lorings submitted the lawsuit last month against the attorney general after Gov. John Lynch signed House Bill 1260 in to law.

While slots are prohibited in New Hampshire, the sweepstakes machines were legal prior to the new law’s beginning June 18.

Lawyer Patrick Fleming, representing 3D Business Center, suggested during a July 12 hearing that sweepstakes gaming is definitely nothing more than a promotion for the Lorings’ company, which supplies Internet, copying, faxing and phone card options.

Fleming argued in court that it’s not gambling given that customers do not have to make a purchase to play the games, the outcomes of which are predetermined.

Patrons are permitted to play 100 complimentary games, but if they desire to play more, they must get one of the center’s items, such as a phone card. Even if patrons lose in the sweepstakes game, Fleming stated, they still win the phone cards.

Brian Buonamano from the N.H. Attorney General’s Office stated the state views the legislation banning sweepstakes machines as a law of conduct.

They additionally contended that if the Lorings were marketing a valid product that individuals wanted, they most likely would not have to have sweepstakes machines to bring them in.

Advocates of the new law called sweepstakes games a back-door approach to gambling.

The Lorings filed for a basic injunction to permit them to operate the games, saying they have lost 80 to 90 percent of their traffic since the law entered repercussion.

Smukler ruled that it is obvious the consumers of 3D Business Center are purchasing telephone cards to play the PCs rather than to make telephone call.

Although the Lorings may provide long-distance telephone access as a product, Smukler ruled, the item in reality is an opportunity to play casino-style games that accumulate or take away points and credits that patrons may transform to cash.

Smukler pointed out the state has the capability to handle sweepstakes affairs in means fairly connected to its legal interests.

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New Hampshire Judge Considered First Amendment Protection

The owners of the 3D Business Center will not be permitted to run sweepstakes gaming machines while awaiting trial in their case challenging the new law that bans such games in New Hampshire.

Rockingham Superior Court Judge Larry Smukler last week denied a preliminary injunction filed by Scott and Cindy Loring, managers of 3D Business Center, which has places in Seabrook and Portsmouth.

Smukler ruled the Lorings fell short to reveal “a substantial likelihood of success” on their claims that sweepstakes gaming is secured under the First Amendment and Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.

The court concurred with attorneys from Attorney General’s Office, that declared the new law is a regulation of conduct and not a procedure of expressive activity.

The Lorings filed the suit last month from the attorney general after Gov. John Lynch signed House Bill 1260 in to law.

While slots are prohibited in New Hampshire, the sweepstakes machines were legal before the new law began June 18.

Attorney Patrick Fleming, representing 3D Business Center, argued during a July 12 hearing that sweepstakes gaming is absolutely nothing more than a promotion for the Lorings’ company, which provides Internet, copying, faxing and phone card solutions.

Fleming argued in court that it’s not gambling since consumers do not need to purchase to play the games, the results of which are predetermined.

Clients are enabled to play 100 games for free, but if they wish to play more, they need to acquire one of the center’s items, such as a phone card. Even if customers lose in the sweepstakes game, Fleming stated, they still walk away with the phone cards.

Brian Buonamano from the N.H. Attorney General’s Office stated the state watches the legislation outlawing sweepstakes machines as a law of conduct.

They also argued that if the Lorings were selling a legitimate product that individuals preferred, they most likely would not need sweepstakes machines to get them in the door.

Proponents of the new law called sweepstakes games a back-door approach to gambling.

The Lorings filed for a basic injunction to let them use the games, explaining they have shed 80 to 90 percent of their company considering that the law entered consequence.

Smukler ruled that it is clear the customers of 3D Business Center are acquiring telephone cards to play the computers instead of to make phone calls.

Although the Lorings may offer long-distance telephone access as an item, Smukler ruled, the product in reality is a chance to play casino-style games that add or subtract points and credits that customers may convert to money.

Smukler said the state has the capacity to manage sweepstakes operations in way reasonably related to its legitimate interests.

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New Sweepstakes Legislation May Be Unconstitutional

All George Lambert desired was a freedom to play poker law.

But as an alternative, Lambert, a Republican state rep from Litchfield, says his original legislation, HB 1260, was “gutted like a fish” and also modified to close a loophole in the existing sweepstakes and gaming law.

The changed bill passed the NH House and also Senate June 18, particularly targeting organizations like the year-old operation in Nashua, Big’s Internet Cafe, Lambert pointed out.

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On Tuesday Nashua Police verified that there is an open investigation of the gaming cafe. According to an additional entrepreneur in the Sun Plaza, police paid a visit to the business at 295 Daniel Webster Highway last week and extracted laptop devices.

No additional details were offered concerning the “recurring inspection,” police stated.

Paul Kelly, director of the state’s Racing and Charitable Gaming Department in Concord, abstained from commenting about the Nashua company when spoken with today. But he did say that charitable gaming is a multimillion dollar market for the state.

According to the state gaming commission web site, currently that department moderates:

live horse speeding and simulcast equine as well as greyhound racing; and also games of chance consisting of bingo as well as Lucky 7. The Commission’s tasks feature the adjudication of hearing, the licensing of racetracks as well as individuals (drivers, managers, instructors, etc.), and also the collection of taxes and fees associated with bingo, Lucky 7, and gambling games.

The legislation has actually propelled legal action against the state from at the very least one small business owner with comparable gaming affairs in Portsmouth as well as Seabrook. That lawsuit, filed against the state attorney general in Rockingham County Superior Court, calls the new law “illegitimate,” according to a current account by Seacoast Online.

Lambert, a main sponsor of HB 1260, stated the issue for Big’s Cafe was that it had the ability to run under an exemption in the previous gaming law, by calling it a sweepstakes and also not directly accepting cash. He conveyed added worry that without oversight it is impossible for players to recognize exactly what their opportunities of gaining (or losing) were, and also exactly how much the business was netting in revenue.

Lambert stated he attempted to see exactly how the sweepstakes games run at a similar business in Manchester.

“I had the ability to review the guides, however wasn’t able to play. When I tried to inquire, they refused to speak with me,” Lambert pointed out, that summarized the games as sweepstakes slot machines.

“Explicitly, the terminology in the bill as amended by the House and also Senate was particularly designed to address places like Big’s for operating under a loophole of the law that enabled them to head out and market phone cards and also some other things that look like slots gambling,” Lambert said.

“That exemption was cleared away from the law with the passage of HB 1260, which is why they are currently able to shut them down,” Lambert stated.

For example, when it pertains to scratch lottery tickets, the possibilities are published on the rear unmistakably. Slot machines in casinos are governed to make sure payouts are predictable and also steady, Lambert stated. Such regulations are in place to reveal that, as a game of chance, it’s not fixed.

“Big’s was operating under the exception that states if you offer us money we’ll convert it in to points, then you go and play with those points and then you could redeem the difference in exactly what you have back to cash; that’s called fungible– the potential to exchange one thing for an additional,” Lambert pointed out.

Lambert said he is not opposed to law of gaming. Yet he stated overbearing law as well as a “nanny state” mindset is the wrong path. Under the present guidelines, it is an abuse of law to have a slot machine operation that is uncontrolled or approved by the state, as well as state does not permit any slots.

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“Do I assume the state should transform that? Yes, I do. Nevertheless that set of operations benefits from some degree of oversight that creates customer security. In places where slots are managed, more than 90 percent of the money goes back to players. No one understands for sure just what that portion is in an affair operated by Big’s, and also there’s no way to verify that, so there is a capacity for consumer fraud or abuse,” Lambert stated.

As for his initial target, of addressing the procedures on playing poker, it is still technically unlawful here in New Hampshire to sit down and play the game for cash– even if you’re playing for coins with granny around the kitchen table.

If reelected, he will reintroduce legislation to broaden poker constraints in New Hampshire.

“There are people who leap out of wonderfully excellent planes for the adventure. There are even companies that let you to do that. So if you’re willing to take the hazard of climbing a mountain, skiing down a mountain, riding a horse, leaping from an airplane, and also waive your right to nanny state regulation, why not let a person to enter into a gambling game under the very same sort of release?” stated Lambert.

Lambert said while HB 1260 is sound, since some regulation of law is acceptable in the sector of gaming, he would prefer to see the state permit consenting people waive their civil liberties, rather than be informed exactly how they can invest their time and money.

“I think, 100 percent, that if it’s your hard earned cash and you have actually obtained it, you must have the ability to do whatever you would like with it,” Lambert said. “Do you see the paradox?”

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New Hampshire Internet Sweepstakes Waiting Information On Injunction

Similar lawsuits across country favor sweepstakes companies

 The fate of 3D Business Office’s video drawing games is on hold until next week.A judgment on an injunction recorded on behalf of New Zealand Highway business owners Scott and also Cindy Loring was pushed back to next Thursday at the request of the attorney general’s workplace due to an organizing dispute.

Lawyer Patrick Fleming, who represents the Lorings, is declaring a new state law, Home Invoice 1260, that defines gambling machines is not just prohibited however even undecipherable.

The law passed last month calls the video drawing games given at 3D a very finely shrouded type of gambling and also makes it a crime to work them.

Fleming has actually also filed a suit and also petition for declaratory judgment.

Fleming said he was informed there would be no additional problems, implying a choice on the injunction need to be hit next week.

Although approved and also accredited as a business center supplying Internet, copying, faxing as well as phone card services, 3D Company Office swiftly became recognized for its sweepstakes video machines. While slots aren’t legal in the Granite State, the machines were let due to a loophole in New Hampshire’s gaming laws, according to state gaming officials.

The new law has actually pursued to close the loophole. While there generally is a 90-day standing by period between the time a law is signed by the governor and also when it is applied, the sweepstakes law entered magic trick immediately because of a special clause created in to its foreign language.

While 3D stays open for company, the drawing special offer has ceased considering that the law took effect, according to Fleming.

On May 17, Seabrook served a stop as well as desist order to 3D for running the alleged drawing gambling parlor instead of a company club that was permitted by the village’s Planning Board. According to the order issued by Seabrook Building as well as Code Enforcement officer Paul Garand, the Lorings, of Revere, were purchased to cease doing business because modifying the tasks within the establishment from those specified on the Planning Board application violated the community’s site plan of action as well as zoning regulations.

The order followed some tested the legitimacy of the 60 drawing machines in 3D’s 2,300-square-foot internet site. Some homeowners declared the 59 spaces in the business center’s parking lot were jammed, frequently with out-of-state autos, whose drivers might cease and request paths to the “slot machine place.”

According to those who have actually been to 3D Business Center, people sat in front of what seemed slot machines that satisfied in cash if points were gained. To wager, individuals put money on a phone card, then had the exact same amount transferred to a sweepstakes video gambling device, they stated. They could possibly play any online game on the appliances– such as Jacks or Better– and also if they earned, the points were worth a penny each. If members lost games, points were shed. Funds could be included in phone cards to carry on play. Members that got points can cash them out for an equal quantity in hard earned cash.

According to a letter sent to Garand by Mark Puffer, one more lawyer for 3D, what had actually been happening at 3D had actually been legitimate due to the fact that it was a “drawing,” which did not technically train as gambling under New Hampshire’s previous law. But the new law, developed specifically to quit sweepstakes ventures like the one at 3D, made the stop and desist order from the community on the grounds of change in task at the business facility moot.

 

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Ruling on sweepstakes machines delayed

Ruling on gambling machines delayedBy Dave Rogers, Staff writer 07/06/2012 4:00 AM
SEABROOK — The fate of 3D Business Center’s video sweepstakes games is on hold until next week.

A ruling on an injunction filed on behalf of New Zealand Road business owners Scott and Cindy Loring was pushed back to next Thursday at the request of the attorney general’s office due to a scheduling conflict.

Attorney Patrick Fleming, who represents the Lorings, is claiming a new state law, House Bill 1260, that defines gambling machines is not only unconstitutional but also undecipherable.

The law passed last month calls the video sweepstakes games offered at 3D a thinly veiled form of gambling and makes it a crime to operate them.

Fleming has also filed a lawsuit and petition for declaratory judgment.

Fleming said he was told there would be no further delays, meaning a decision on the injunction should be reached next week.

Although approved and licensed as a business center offering Internet, photocopying, faxing and phone card services, 3D Business Center quickly became known for its sweepstakes video machines. While slot machines aren’t legal in the Granite State, the machines were allowed due to a loophole in New Hampshire’s gaming statutes, according to state gaming officials.

The new law has sought to close the loophole. While there typically is a 90-day waiting period between the time a law is signed by the governor and when it is enforced, the sweepstakes law went into effect immediately because of a special clause written into its language.

While 3D remains open for business, the sweepstakes promotion has stopped since the law took effect, according to Fleming.

On May 17, Seabrook served a cease and desist order to 3D for running the alleged sweepstakes gambling parlor instead of a business center that was approved by the town’s Planning Board. According to the order issued by Seabrook Building and Code Enforcement officer Paul Garand, the Lorings, of Revere, were ordered to stop doing business because altering the activities within the establishment from those stated on the Planning Board application violated the town’s site plan and zoning regulations.

The order came after some challenged the legality of the 60 sweepstakes machines in 3D’s 2,300-square-foot site. Some residents claimed the 59 spaces in the business center’s parking lot were jammed, often with out-of-state vehicles, whose drivers would stop and ask for directions to the “slot machine place.”

According to those who have been to 3D Business Center, people sat in front of what appeared to be slot machines that paid off in cash if points were won. To play, people put money on a phone card, then had the same amount transferred to a sweepstakes video gambling machine, they said. They could play any game on the machines — such as Jacks or Better — and if they won, the points were worth a penny each. If players lost games, points were lost. Money could be added to phone cards to continue play. Players who earned points could cash them out for an equal amount in money.

According to a letter sent to Garand by Mark Puffer, another attorney for 3D, what had been happening at 3D had been legal because it was a “sweepstakes,” which did not technically qualify as gambling under New Hampshire’s previous law. But the new law, created specifically to stop sweepstakes operations like the one at 3D, made the cease and desist order from the town on the grounds of change in activity at the business center moot.

Daily News reporter Angeljean Chiaramida contributed to this report.

http://m.newburyportnews.com/TDNN/pm_103107/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=m9hMhFFB

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New law halts game with cash prizes

By MICHAEL COUSINEAU
New Hampshire Sunday News

Members of Nashua Elks Lodge 720 paid a dollar a minute to buy phone cards and receive corresponding credits they could use to play games on a machine for cash prizes.

The lodge called it fun; the state called it gambling.

The lodge collected $70,000 in profits in six months from members playing these sweepstakes games on five machines, funding $15,000 in Christmas gifts for 75 children and renting a bus to take youngsters to summer camp, according to the lodge’s exalted ruler, Douglas Tremlett.

Patrons could use their credits to play poker and keno, among other games, he said. The most cash he heard of someone winning was about $900, he said. The Elks received 60 percent of the profits and paid prizes from money provided by the machine vendor.

“Most people didn’t care about the phone cards,” he said Friday. “We’d take the phone cards and donate them to the VA in Manchester.”

On June 18, Gov. John Lynch signed a bill making such sweepstakes games illegal in the state — and the Elks lodge had the equipment removed.

“I wish the state would legalize them just like bingo,” Tremlett said. “They made it easier for us to donate money to sponsor kids.”

By one count, the New Hampshire Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission said at least 16 locations in 13 communities, mainly in southern New Hampshire, hosted these sweepstakes games.

“From my own experience seeing the machines, there’s a lot of money out there,” said Paul Kelley, the commission’s director.

Kelley, who also serves as Seabrook’s town moderator, said he has seen the operation at 3D Business Center in Seabrook.

“There’s lines to play the machines, to supposedly buy their phone cards,” Kelley said. “When was the last time you went down to Cumberland Farms or Richdale’s to wait in line to buy a phone card?”

Portsmouth attorney Patrick Fleming, who represents the Seabrook business, said he has filed paperwork in Rockingham County Superior Court requesting a temporary restraining order against the state; a hearing will be held Thursday.

“I think it’s so overly broad it invites discriminatory enforcement,” Fleming said of the law.

On Monday, the state Attorney General’s Office will brief local police on the new law.

“We’re going to meet with police departments on what the law provides and talk about the possibility for investigation and enforcement,” Deputy Attorney General Ann Rice said.

The law, which began as an effort to expand poker games in the state, ended up reining in these sweepstakes games.

“What I hear is these are similar to video lottery machines you’d find in a casino,” Rice said. She declined to comment on Fleming’s court filing.

Not all the locations were generating profits, according to the owner of a former sweepstakes business at 223 S. Willow St. in Manchester.

“It simply wasn’t making money,” said James Daskal, owner of Connection House. “It wasn’t doing the numbers it was projected.”

Daskal tangled with city officials over licensing the machines, unsuccessfully appealing a $36,000 bill for licensing fees. He shut his business in April before the licenses were up for renewal.

“If you’re not making money, why throw good money after bad,” he said.

Daskal said people could come in and get free sweepstakes entries and earn more if they bought Internet time on 24 computers.

“I personally don’t think we were doing anything illegal,” he said.

Rice said the law allows for the attorney general, a county attorney or police chief to “go to court and ask for an order to cease operations,” and the machines potentially could be forfeited. Using the machines for gambling purposes can lead to fines of not less than $5,000 per machine per day.

According to the gaming commission, there were sweepstakes machines in Seabrook, Dover, Salem, Belmont, Nashua, Manchester, Hampton Beach, Raymond, Kensington, Hudson, Portsmouth, Hampton Falls and Londonderry.

Kelley said the list isn’t kept updated; at least some businesses have since had the machines removed.

Rep. Ken Hawkins, R-Bedford, worked on the law, flipping the bill’s intent by 180 degrees from the original sponsor. Rep. George Lambert, R-Litchfield. Lambert said his bill was intended to legalize certain poker games, including those played in private homes, and he opposed the sweepstakes language.

“By the time it got done, I didn’t own a single sentence in it, but it had my name on it,” Lambert said.

Hawkins said what Lambert’s proposal “amounted to for a lot of us is expanded gambling, and we’re against expanded gambling.”

The state lottery, meanwhile, worried about the competition from these unregulated sweepstakes games.

“There’s only so many discretionary dollars to go around,” said Charlie McIntyre, executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission. “For us, it’s money not going to education.”

Back at the Elks club, Tremlett said the machines will be missed.

“A lot of our members wished it was back here,” he said. “They enjoy playing it.”

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With Supreme Court Ruling In Hand, Sweepstakes Operators File Lawsuits Against State

 Video games have been deemed “free speech” by the US Supreme Court ’11

The owners of the 3D Business Center in Portsmouth and Seabrook, which have become nearly empty “ghost towns” since a new state law banned sweepstakes gaming machines, have filed a lawsuit against the state’s attorney general.

Scott and Cindy Loring filed the lawsuit on Friday in Rockingham Superior Court, claiming the new law is unconstitutional. The couple is seeking a preliminary injunction on July 5 to allow them to operate the sweepstakes games while the lawsuit makes its way through the court system.

“My hope to have certain provisions of this new law declared unconstitutional,” said Patrick Fleming, attorney for the Lorings.

While slot machines are illegal in New Hampshire, the sweepstakes machines were legal before the new law took effect.

A loophole in the law, which allowed the games, was closed June 18, when Gov. John Lynch signed House Bill 1260 into law.

The law became effective immediately with violators to be fined up to $5,000 per day for each machine.

Proponents of the law called sweepstakes games a back-door approach to gambling. Some said the sweepstakes machines take money away from charities, which are required by law to receive a 35 percent share of profits from licensed charitable gaming operations in New Hampshire.

When the 3D Business Center first opened in Seabrook six months ago, it billed itself as a business center — offering faxing, photocopying, e-mailing and Internet surfing — but was known more for operating computerized sweepstakes games. It became so successful, the Lorings opened a second location at Heritage Commons on Lafayette Road in Portsmouth.

Scott Loring said Tuesday both locations remain open, but he admitted traffic in the establishments has dwindled since sweepstakes games were eliminated.

Prior to the law, it was almost impossible to find a parking space at the Seabrook location, but on Tuesday it looked like a “ghost town,” he said.

Loring said developers of the sweepstakes machine software have deep pockets and will fund the fight to allow them to operate in the state.

Fleming said the new law is written in a confusing manner.

“The problem (with the law) is the definition of ‘gambling machine’ has nothing to do with gambling,” Fleming said. “It basically says ‘any device that is capable of being used in sweepstakes or a game of chance,’ and I think covers every device imaginable under the sun.”

Fleming said under the new law an ATM machine could be considered a gambling machine.

“If a gambling machine was a machine you gamble on, like slot machines, I would have no problem with it,” Fleming said. “But that is not the way they wrote this particular statute, and that is why I brought the lawsuit.”

Loring said he believes people misconstrued sweepstakes machines as gambling.

“This is not gaming,” Loring said. “I know people say, ‘if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it’s a duck,’ but this is not.”

Loring said to play the sweepstakes game customers had to purchase a phone card. The purchase earned the customer points to play the sweepstakes games. Even if the customer loses the sweepstakes game, they can still use the phone card.

“You’re buying a product,” Loring said, noting the result of the game is predetermined.

Loring said he feels for his customers, ages 18 to 93, who enjoyed playing the games.

“They sit down at one of these machines, and they find a little happy place,” Loring said. “It’s not booze, it’s not pills. It is just another vehicle of entertainment and a place to talk with friends. It’s not like we were making a lot of money. The majority of the money was going to pay people back who win.”

Paul M. Kelley, director of the New Hampshire Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission, recently said the sweepstakes gaming machines are highly profitable.

Kelley said the Elks Lodge in Nashua has five machines and during a five-month period, after payouts, made more than $70,000. That’s $14,000 a machine in that five-month period or $2,800 per machine, per month. The Portsmouth and Seabrook locations each have about 40 machines.

http://internetsweepstakesforum.com/showthread.php?4981-With-Supreme-Court-Ruling-In-Hand-Sweepstakes-Operators-File-Lawsuits-Against-State&p=5765#post5765

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Similar laws in other State’s been ruled unconstitutional

The House, Senate and governor are to be congratulated on quickly passing a law to close a legal loophole that had allowed “sweepstakes” gambling operations to move into the state.

Sweepstakes parlors look like slot barns, offer computer-based gambling and pay rewards to winners, but because players first buy a phone card and then use phone card minutes to fund the gambling machines, operators have argued they offer promotions rather than games of chance.

Recently, more than 10 known sweepstakes operations set up in New Hampshire, including locations in Seabrook and Portsmouth. By saying they are simply giving prizes to customers who buy phone cards in the same way McDonald’s or Publisher’s Clearinghouse run promotions, sweepstakes operators were able to get around Granite State gambling laws.

Sweepstakes were a lose-lose-lose situation for the state. They allowed gambling operators to flourish despite the Legislature’s repeated rejection of expanded gambling in the state. The people of New Hampshire did not receive any semblance of public good as we do with charitable gaming and, because they were completely unregulated, sweepstakes customers had no legal protections.

The first step was passing a law explicitly banning sweepstakes. That’s done.

But lawmakers and prosecutors are well aware that creating the law was just half the battle. The sweepstakes operators will fight the ban and they have won their battles in many states. They’ll fight to retain their operations because millions of dollars are at stake.

The governor signed the law Monday but the sweepstakes operations in Portsmouth and Seabrook are still in operation. Local law enforcement is waiting for guidance from the attorney general’s office and the state’s top enforcement agency is moving forward carefully.

Now that the law is passed we urge the attorney general to help local agencies enforce it and, if we need to go to court to defend the will of the people against expanded gambling, then we should take the fight to the courts.

****

The governor also deserves thanks for vetoing possibly the worst piece of legislation passed by the House and Senate this session, SB 372 that would take money from public schools and divert it to private and parochial schools.

We implore our representatives and senators to let the override stand.

The bill would give businesses a tax credit for sponsoring “scholarships,” more accurately called vouchers, for private and parochial school students. The bill takes money from public schools in two ways.

First, and most directly, if a student takes one of these vouchers his or her public school system will receive between $3,450 and $8,381 less per student from the state. The Department of Education further estimates this will cost school districts $3,687,861 in year one and increase to $6,330,646 by year three.

Second, tax credits given to businesses to reduce their business profits tax are taxes not collected by the state to be used for the public good.

Finally, the governor correctly points out that when a student leaves a school fixed operating costs don’t leave with him. The teacher still gets paid the same, electricity and heat cost the same, debt service costs don’t change. This means that local property taxes will likely need to rise to offset the loss of revenue from the state.

Frankly, the bill is baffling. If parents want to send their students to non-public schools that is their right. But the state has no obligation to fund this family education decision. The state’s responsibility is to the vast majority of students who attend its public schools and part of that responsibility is to fund them, not make a bad situation worse by taking money away.

http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20120622-OPINION-206220345

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