WALNUT COVE – The Board of Commissioners here made quick work of a short agenda on Tuesday night, when in the last ten minutes of the meeting, City Manager Kim Greenwood dropped a bombshell: the drawing rooms of the area will be closed by the Sheriff’s Department at the end of the month.
Indeed, the Supreme Court of North Carolina ruled at the end of February that these establishments are places of gambling and not, as claimed by the operators, placed to play “games of skill”.
Two companies, Gift Surplus LLC and Sandhill Amusements, have sued the state over its efforts to shut down operations, saying “skill trumps chance” in the latest version of its games. The games still look like a video slot machine, but players now have to move around a number or symbol on the screen to determine whether they have won or lost.
In a 5-0 decision, the state Supreme Court rejected that argument. “We find that chance prevails over skill in the plaintiffs’ new game and, therefore, that this game is a game of chance that violates the law of raffles,” Judge Robin Hudson wrote in the ruling. . She pointed out that the case is the third time the plaintiffs have appeared in court in an attempt to circumvent North Carolina’s ban on video draws.
This has been an often debated question in Walnut Cove, where there are several such establishments.
Greenwood said there may be more appeals, but those would likely have to be heard in federal court.
Commissioner Thomas Mitchell said he was surprised at the news, wondering how the state can run a lottery while saying raffles play like games of chance.
In other cases counsel:
* Approved an expense for the “Beehive” fleet and inventory management system.
* Approved to take the required ethics training virtually on May 26.
* Adoption of a policy on telecommunications and solar farms, which were excluded from the land use policy approved last year.
*Received the report from the General Manager of Greenwood, who described the February 21 budget meeting as “very productive”. And in response to a question during the public comment period about Dollar General’s situation, Greenwood said city attorney Ann Rowe has scheduled a conference call with attorneys for the developer. “They’ve got the next shot,” Greenwood said.
* Heard from Mayor Nellie Brown of concerns over speeding on Windmill Street and commended the Walnut Cove Fire Department and four other county departments for their new positive insurance ratings. She also thanked the board for purchasing a Lucas device for the department, which was used to save her great-nephew last week. “It was a beautiful miracle,” she said. Brown also pondered ways to better educate townspeople about the upcoming roundabout.