The City of Hamlet called an emergency city council meeting Friday morning, and adopted a revision to the ordinance governing a privilege tax for electronic gaming operations.
The ordinance previously required a $3,000 annual privilege license tax for each electronic gaming location. This has been changed to a $5,000 annual privilege tax.
The $2,000 annual tax for each electronic gaming machine used or stored as part of the electronic gaming operation has been lowered to $1,000.
“The staff has researched taxes and fees in surrounding areas, and we are just looking to create a comparable ordinance,” said Hamlet Mayor Jeff Smart.
Rockingham recently announced fees of the same amount, and some Internet cafe owners in the town objected to that — calling the fees too high.
Several Internet cafe owners in the county were contacted for comment about Hamlet’s move, and all declined to comment.
The rest of Hamlet’s electronic gaming operations privilege tax ordinance remained unchanged.
For the purposes of Hamlet’s ordinance, the term “electronic gaming operation” means the following: “Any business enterprise, whether as a principal or an accessory use, where persons utilize electronic machines, including but not limited to computers and gaming terminals, to conduct games of chance, including sweepstakes, and where cash, merchandise or other items of value are redeemed or otherwise distributed, whether or not the value of such distribution is determined by electronic games played or predetermined odds. This term includes, but is not limited to Internet cafes, Internet sweepstakes, beach sweepstakes or cyber cafes. This does not include any lottery approved by the State of NC.”
Applicants for an electronic gaming operation must complete a Gaming Operation Application that lists the serial numbers and other identifying numbers of each electronic gaming machine used or stored as part of the operation. If the operation purchases, leases or replaces existing machines, the business operator must report the serial numbers of the new machines within 14 days.
— Staff Writer Kelli Easterling can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.