The North Carolina Supreme Court has upheld a law banning video sweepstake games offered in more than a thousand café-type establishments statewide.
"Once it's ruled that it's not allowable in the state, then you'll see us start closing locations down," says Tony Whisnant, who operates four sweepstakes parlors, including on in Charlotte.
Whisnant says he's still looking through the ruling to see if there's a way to make his games legal.
Sweepstakes operators have been in a cat and mouse game with state legislators for several years, altering their programs to skirt each new law.
Earlier this year the North Carolina Court of Appeals found the sweepstakes law a violation of free speech. But the state's highest court now says the ban merely regulates conduct, not speech.
Whisnant says sweepstakes operators have not ruled out an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The president of the Internet Based Sweepstakes Operators – Chase Brooks - said in a statement his members will "look at morphing into whatever we need to be" to continue operating legally.