Written by Lent C. Carr for Hoke County Commissioner 2022— RAEFORD NC
March 5, 2022
THE NC SUPREME COURT HAS SPOKEN—NOW WHAT?
Lent C. Carr, II for Hoke County Commissioner 2022 Speaks to the Question of the Illegal Gambling Casinos in Hoke County, NC and More…
During a Candidate’s Meet and Greet Public forum at Rockfish Community Volunteer Board, whereas two incumbents seeking re-elections bids had previously made promises as current County Commissioners (Harry Southerland and Allen Thomas) to sanction or completely shut down illegal gambling locals ( but did not show for said public statements and questionnaire on a range of issues); and notably being given the chance to answer for himself his dereliction of yet another broken promise to Hoke’s concerned citizens on this issue of grave concern, current County Commissioner Tony Hunt, could not provide the forum an answer. However, Candidate Lent C. Carr, II for Hoke County Commissioner, was asked the question by one of our Beloved citizens as to why the County Commissioner’s Board had not taken any of their promised actions to this quagmire of gaming of chance opposed to skills, in conjunction with our local Hoke County Sheriff's Office?” Identifying further concerns of increased crime, and such illegal enterprise being in close proximity to our schools and churches; which in essence is illegal.
To be fair and clear here; though our former Sherrif, Sherrif Hubert Peterkin had taken a hard stance against the operations of such gamblings of chance opposed to skills being shut down until our NC Supreme Court Ruled— considering also that those unsavory illegal enterprises posed crime, unlawful close proximity to churches and schools in some cases— as a Candidate for Hoke County Commissioner, my answer was “until we received the anticipated ruling and guidance from The NC Supreme Court (which has been released now) on that question; I would have voted in collaboration with our current Sherrif’s Administration and maybe one sitting Commissioners to enforce such penalties as the law dictated for well over 100 years concerning such illegal activity to be band from Hoke until further instructions from the High Court.” Especially where, due to multiple incidents of criminal activities isolated at those illegal facilities were yet and still ongoing even under the current Commissioner’s watch and broken promise to shut them down following three (3) strikes of actual violations and increased crime. This is not to negate the fact that according to law those gambling casinos were by construction of law not permitted to be within close proximity to schools and churches—in at least one reported instance they were under disguise.
Before I delve further here, and once again to be fair and transparent with our new Sheriff, Sheriff Rodderick Virgil, and the citizens of Hoke County; Virgil did not become Hoke’s Leading Law Enforcement Officer until and following the untimely death of our Beloved Sheriff Peterkin— who by the way took a tough stance even before the Commission Board to do something to protect our citizenry against such illegal enterprises all together. The question now that Former Sheriff Peterkin cannot champion applying the law in which has now been interpreted by the Supreme Court of North Carolina is what will the current Commission Board, working collaboratively with our new Sheriff do now that the case has been resolved that such enterprises are in fact illegal due to, amongst other reasonings “chance versus skills?”
In its Ruling The NC Supreme Court held in Gift Surplus LLC vs. State ex rel:
“In applying the predominant-factor test, we view plaintiffs’ game in the entirety. In Hest, we observed that “the Court will inquire, not into the name, but into the game, however skillfully disguised, in order to ascertain if it is prohibited.” Hest, 366 N.C. at 289. This approach is confirmed by N.C.G.S. § 14-306.4, which clarifies that “[i]t is the intent of this section to prohibit any mechanism that seeks to avoid application of this section through the use of any subterfuge or pretense whatsoever.” N.C.G.S. § 14-306.4(c). Here, chance controls plaintiffs’ game by determining that in 75% of turns, players will not be eligible to play for the top prize and, indeed, cannot play for anything more than mere cents. Accordingly, just as is the case with a traditional slot machine, the return to the player in plaintiffs’ game is dependent on chance. Abbott, 218 N.C. at 479. Nothing about the “nudge” (or even a “double nudge”) obviates this fundamental aspect of plaintiffs’ game. First, the skill and dexterity required to “nudge” a reel up or down is de minimis. More fundamentally, even assuming there was a meaningful level of skill or dexterity involved in the game, chance would always predominate because, when chance determines the relative winnings for which a player is able to play, chance “can override or thwart the exercise of skill.” Sandhills 236 N.C. App. at 369. As in Crazie Overstock, LLC, “the extent to which a customer is able to win more than a minimal amount of money is controlled by the outcome of [Plaintiffs’ games’ initial reel spin] regardless of the level of skill and dexterity that the player displays while participating in [nudging the reels]. Crazie Overstock, LLC, 2021-NCSC-57, ¶25. This situation is also analogous to the game of poker, which, despite involving a much greater level of skill, the Court of Appeals has held to be a game of chance because the drawing of “cards . . . at random” causes chance to predominate over skill. Collins Coin, 117 N.C. App. at 409; accord Joker Club, L.L.C. v. Hardin, 183 N.C. App. 92, 99 (2007) (“No amount of skill can change a deuce into an ace.”). Here, the “winner-every-time” modification to permit a nominal award of a few cents and the “double-nudge” modification are nothing more than “thin and false apparel” over the plaintiffs’ games that the law “will strip . . . [to] consider [the game] in its very nakedness.” 3Hest, 366 N.C. at 289 (citation omitted). After considering plaintiffs’ game when “viewed in its entirety,” we hold that “the results produced by [plaintiffs’] equipment in terms of whether the player wins or loses and the relative amount of the player’s winnings or losses varies primarily with the vagaries of chance [and not] the extent of the player’s skill and dexterity.” Crazie Overstock, LLC, 2021 NCSC-57, ¶ 23. Accordingly, we hold that plaintiffs’ game violates N.C.G.S. § 14306.4(a)’s prohibition on sweepstakes conducted through video games of chance. D. Gambling ¶ 36 ¶ 37 Plaintiff further argues its game does not constitute illegal gambling under North Carolina’s criminal code, while the State contends that it does. Since this Court holds that plaintiffs’ conduct violates one aspect of our State’s criminal code, we decline to reach this issue, which was also not reached by the Court of Appeals. III. Conclusion We conclude that in plaintiffs’ new game, as in their game addressed in Sandhill, chance predominates over skill and, accordingly, it is a video game of chance prohibited by N.C.G.S. § 14-306.4. Because this holding is dispositive of the case, we need not address the other issues raised by the parties. Accordingly, we modify and affirm the opinion of the Court of Appeals. MODIFIED AND AFFIRMED.
See Full Ruling at: www.courthousenews.com
Justices ERVIN and BERGER did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.
3Indeed, as defendants note, there is no guarantee that the “double-nudge” and “winner-every-time” modifications on which plaintiffs rely would even be available in actual game play since operators of kiosks may disable them or not stock the machine with coins. In such cases, the games are the same ones we held to be illegal in Sandhill.
The question now is, now that The Supreme Court has answered resoundingly that such enterprises are illegal— what will the powers that be do to correct this debacle?
Yours In Community Service,
Lent C Carr,
Candidate for Hoke County Commissioner 2022
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE COMMITTEE TO ELECT LENT CARR HOKE COUNTY COMMISSIONER 2022 at: www.lentcarr.com
or Contact our Office at: (910)-683-0001
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