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Courts

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Dismissal asked in game suit

Mutual bid filed in ‘sweepstakes’ case

– Both sides in a federal lawsuit asking a judge to rule on the matter of Internet “sweepstakes” machines and the businesses who offer them have asked for the case to be dismissed.

Filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne, the joint motion for dismissal says each side will pay their own attorney fees and costs. If the request is granted, the case would be dismissed with prejudice, meaning the plaintiffs could not file the lawsuit again.

In January, attorneys for Buckwheat Holdings LLC, the parent company of Lincoln Plaza Internet Sensations, sued the Indiana Gaming Commission, asking a federal judge to prevent the gaming commission from future enforcement of its prohibition on sweepstakes-type games.

The company argued the machines are not electronic gaming devices.

A year ago, state officials identified the sweepstakes machines as “electronic gaming devices” and they were prohibited even in businesses authorized to have pull tab-type games.

And then, in December, Indiana Gaming Commission agents raided Lincoln Plaza Internet Sensations in New Haven and Wrigley Field Bar and Grill, removing a total of 51 machines after two undercover investigations.

In April, Allen County prosecutors charged a number of people connected with the businesses, including Fort Wayne residents Edward G. Miers, 26, of the 2600 block of Kingston Place, and Matthew Rae, 28, of the 6300 block of Kiwanis Drive, with corrupt business influence, promoting professional gambling, professional gambling, and money laundering.

The two men operated Lincoln Plaza Internet Sensations, according to court documents.

Also charged was Florida resident Stephen W. Carnes, 48, with the same counts. Court documents identified Carnes as the managing member of Buckwheat Holdings LLC and Lincoln Plaza Internet Sensations. The two companies are also charged with professional gambling and promoting professional gambling.

Lincoln Plaza Internet Sensations sold Internet “air time” for $5 an hour.

For each hour they bought, customers received five free sweepstakes credits, which could then be used to place bets on Vegas-style games accessed from Lincoln Plaza Internet Sensations computers.

Winners received $1 a winning credit, according to court documents.

The criminal cases were resolved earlier this summer by guilty pleas to charges of professional gambling, and as part of the guilty plea involving Lincoln Plaza Internet Sensations, the defendants admitted the machines were “electronic gaming devices,” according to court documents.

rgreen@jg.net

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