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Durham regulating sweepstakes parlors

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New Internet sweepstakes parlors inside the Durham city limits will have to locate at least 500 feet—about a block and a half—from day cares, parks, schools, churches and homes. The parlors also must be 500 feet away from another gaming establishment.

Durham City Council voted 6-0 Monday night to amend the Unified Development Ordinance to clarify where the parlors, also knowns as electronic gaming establishments, can do business. The parlors are designated under the "Indoor Recreation" category and can operate in commercial and light industrial zoning districts where bars and nightclubs are also allowed. However, no alcohol is permitted in the parlors, according to the ordinance.

Existing parlors are grandfathered, meaning they are exempt from the ordinance unless they move.

Video gambling has been illegal in North Carolina since 2007, but Internet sweepstakes parlors, in which players can enter an online game to win a prize, are allowed. The parlors are unrelated to the N.C. Education Lottery, which is also legal.

The General Assembly outlawed the parlors in 2010, but a recent court ruling overturned the state statute on First Amendment grounds.

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