PTC puts 6-month ban on ‘sweepstakes Internet cafes’

To avert a new type of business that uses electronic gaming to provide cash payouts for what is essentially gambling, the Peachtree City Council enacted a moratorium Thursday night.

Interim City Manager Nikki Vrana noted that such a “Sweepstakes Internet Cafes” business has located in Fayetteville and is making cash payouts to participants who use the computers for a gaming system, Vrana said.

Fayetteville City Manager Joe Morton alerted Peachtree City staff about the matter and even shared their proposed moratorium language.

The Sweepstakes Internet Cafe in Fayetteville was pitched to city officials as a “business center,” officials said.

The industry touts its services as selling time on the Internet while offering promotional sweepstakes to its patrons. Often times, the customer has to purchase a special phone or Internet card that is inserted into the gaming terminals at the store.

The six-month moratorium will give the city time to research the possibility of changing the city’s zoning regulations and other ways to limit this type of business, Vrana said.

A bill to restrict such businesses has been filed with the Georgia legislature, Vrana added.

The website of one company that sells sweepstakes machines pitches the ventures as being like “owning your own mini casino where you will provide a true entertainment value to your customers at the same time giving them an opportunity to win cash prizes.”

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