(Fay Observer) As Cumberland County seeks to tighten rules on Internet sweepstakes cafes, a bill that would clear a path for local governments to tax the businesses edged toward a vote in the state House on Wednesday.
County commissioners fear that high fees imposed on the online gambling cafes in Fayetteville will push them out to rural areas. The county wants to introduce fees of its own.
“Once these people realize they can be right outside the city, you’re going to see the floodgates open unless this is taken care of immediately by the county,” Commissioner Jimmy Keefe said at a board meeting Monday.
In 2010, Fayetteville started charging cafes $2,000 each to operate, plus $2,500 per machine. Lumberton has imposed higher fees. Business owners challenged them in court as unfair and unconstitutional. They lost, but in May the state Court of Appeals ruled that three of the Fayetteville cases dismissed by a lower court should have gone to trial.
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