To the editor:
Internet sweepstakes has been the subject of much debate as of late here in Scotland County, with both pros and cons being tossed about. The majority of the anti-sweepstakes crowd cite the questionable legality and the moral arguments of gambling. The pro-sweepstakes folks cite the jobs and much needed revenue these establishments bring to the community.
The bottom line is that the only arguments and opinions that matter are those of the City Council when and if they decide to or not to renew the business licenses of the Sweepstakes locations in Laurinburg when they all expire on June 30.
Let’s be realistic here. Sweepstakes businesses are not for everyone. But no one has been forced to go and play the games. These businesses, and the people who run them, are bringing money into our community. They’re bringing jobs to a county that consistently has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state. At last count, there are 21 sweepstakes businesses located in the Laurinburg city limits. These are 21 buildings that would otherwise be sitting empty, abandoned and wasting away. Instead, they have a business that brings people to Scotland County, provides jobs and puts money in the pockets of other Scotland County businesses. At least five people per business now are working and have jobs to pay their bills and support their families — jobs that were not here before and haven’t been here for a long, long time.
If a person doesn’t want to be a part of this kind of business, so be it. That’s their right, but they don’t have the right to moralize and pass judgement on others and that’s exactly what the majority of the naysayers are doing. The only real argument that anyone can use is the questionable legality of these games. That is currently being played out in the court system, but no decision has been reached as of yet. So what basis would the local officials have to not renew these business licenses and allow the businesses to stay open?
I don’t see any reason to not just renew the licenses and allow these businesses, which are providing revenue, tourism and jobs for our county, all which are desperately needed, to continue as is for the rest of the year. If any legal decision comes down in the meantime, act accordingly, but don’t throw away jobs, businesses and everything Scotland County needs. I hope that the elected officials here in Scotland County understand this.