Ozark's New Sweepstakes Ordinance

By: Erica Proffer
By: Erica Proffer

Ozark recently passed an ordinance to establish a licensing fee for sweepstakes businesses.

However, some area businesses think it's not fair.

The city of Ozark has recently passed an ordinance regulating the license fees for sweepstakes businesses.

Under that ordinance, the company will not only pay a license tax of $250 dollars per machine annually, but also make sure each employee is issued an employee's license.

"I think it’s probably the best we could do, under the circumstances to regulate them. I know that we could prohibit them, but that was a lawsuit waiting to happen. And, with that many machines in town, maybe we can make a little income, even though I’m opposed to gambling,” says Ozark City Council President, Marilyn Tamplin.

There are four sweepstakes business in Ozark.

Ricky Graveman says he invests a lot into Ozark, already.

His business employees seven local residents, paid around $1600 dollars last month in power and utilities, and pays an eight cent sales tax on every pre-paid phone card, which is used in the sweepstakes.

"It’s an Internet sweepstakes where we sell phone time or Internet time. This type of business is no different than you going into McDonalds and buying a large drink, peeling the sticker off the side of the cup and see what you have won," says Owner of Ricky’s Sweepstakes, Ricky Graveman.

Connie Peters at Super Seven Sweepstakes says she just wants the city's support. "We’re a new business, we’ve only been open a couple of months, but we are supporting the city of Ozark, and we hope they support us," she says.

Both Graveman and Peters say they are not planning to shut down business because of the new ordinance.

The city is also making each business perform a background check on all employees.

Some of the sweepstakes owners say that's a great idea, but wish the city was fair and applied that to all Ozark businesses.

Under federal law, a sweepstakes does not require a purchase, and each business must honor that.


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