Legislature Moving Forward on Internet Sweepstakes Ban

By George Colli
|  Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014  |  Updated 10:16 PM EDT
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State Sen. Dante Bartolomeo testified Tuesday in support a bill that would ban internet sweepstakes games in Connecticut.

State Sen. Dante Bartolomeo testified Tuesday in support a bill that would ban internet sweepstakes games in Connecticut.

Lawmakers took the next step in an attempt to drive internet sweepstakes games out of Connecticut on Tuesday.

State Sen. Dante Bartolomeo, of Meriden, testified in a public safety committee hearing regarding Senate Bill 102, an act prohibiting internet sweepstakes cafes.

Bartolomeo testified that the slot-style sweepstakes games are Class C gambling and violate the compact between the state and tribal casinos.

She stressed the need to shut down the internet sweepstakes related businesses before they “spread like a cancer” throughout the state.

An NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters investigation shedding light on the businesses that offer these sweepstakes games aired just two-and-a-half weeks ago.

Sen. Bartolomeo, along with Public Safety Committee Chair State Sen. Joan Hartley, of Waterbury, held a press conference the day after the story aired proposing the legislation.

Last week, state and local police raided business centers in Enfield and Bloomfield that were featured in our investigation.

Our undercover cameras showed dozens of people, mostly seniors, playing these sweepstakes games and winning money.

Operators of the games tell us they’re legal and do not violate any state gambling laws because the winners are pre-determined and they’re free to play – depending on how much money you spend on other things inside the store.

Stephen Scott, the manager of the Mouse Pad Business Center and Tech Solutions, is facing charges of operating gambling devices and maintaining a gambling premises.

He is scheduled to be arraigned in court on Feb. 25.

Attorneys for Scott would not comment on the charges or the proposed legislation.

Bartolomeo says there will be another public hearing on the proposed bill in the coming weeks.

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