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Elizabethtown to Revisit Electronic Gaming Operations Ordinance

By Joy Warren

Pursuant to the Elizabethtown Zoning Ordinance, the Planning Board considered a 60-day moratorium for electronic gaming operations during their meeting on Monday evening. According to Chairman Bobby Kinlaw, the Board considered information presented and forwarded their recommendation to approve the moratorium.

Billie Hall (pictured above), who is the Planning and Zoning Director, indicated that the Town was prompted to request the moratorium after a person came to apply for an establishment based on recent case laws regarding “skill-based” machines. Staff determined the need to establish a moratorium in order to allow the Town staff to research new case law and to allow adequate time for the Planning and Zoning Board to draft an amendment to the current zoning ordinance.

Robin Summerlin

A public hearing was conducted during the Elizabethtown Town Council meeting Monday evening. Only one citizen spoke during the hearing. Robin Summerlin, an Elizabethtown businessman, spoke in opposition to allowing gaming operations in the town.

Council approved a 60-day moratorium on electronic gaming operations, including, but not limited to, internet cafes, internet sweepstakes, beach sweepstakes, stand-alone sweepstake kiosks or cybercafes, gamerooms and electronic sweepstake businesses. During the moratorium, current businesses cannot add to the number of machines in their establishment. Hall indicated that Community Mart has three machines and the owner is paying a daily fee per machine as the machines are in violation of the current law.

Any entity that opens an electronic gaming operation in violation of the moratorium shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to any additional legal or equitable remedies available to the Town. The ordinance took effect Monday, March 4.

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