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Sweepstakes gaming company pulls up stakes in NC

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 27, 2013 at 7:44 pm •  Published: March 27, 2013

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A company providing software for video sweepstakes cafes said it's leaving North Carolina because it's getting too hard to do business in the state.

International Internet Technologies LLC, sent the March 19 letter outlining its plans to several North Carolina law enforcement agencies.

The company said it would cease operations immediately, but it would take about a week for local operators to "completely wind business down," according to a copy of the letter reviewed Wednesday by The Associated Press.

But that doesn't necessarily mean the businesses will close. The company said that various local owners could continue to operate in their "current locations utilizing software from other providers."

Workers at the New Hope Business Center in Raleigh had already begun scraping the red-and-white IIT decals off the windows Wednesday. A woman who came out to shoo away a photographer said IIT had indeed pulled out, but that another company had already stepped in. She declined to give her name or to divulge the new operators.

The cafe's "open" sign was flashing Wednesday, and the oval ATM sign was lit.

Telephone messages left for the Winston-Salem, N.C., law firm representing IIT were not immediately returned Wednesday.

IIT is owned by Chase and Kristin Burns, an Oklahoma couple who are among 57 people indicted in Florida related to a chain of sweepstakes cafes affiliated with Allied Veterans of the World. Prosecutors said only about 2 percent of the $300 million raised in the cafes actually went to help veterans.

Records show Burns and his wife donated at least $230,000 to North Carolina political campaigns in the past two years, including $55,000 to groups affiliated with the North Carolina Republican Party and cash to more than 60 state lawmakers from both parties. The haul made the Oklahoma couple the largest single donors to North Carolina legislative candidates in 2012.

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