City of Denison facing "gambling" lawsuit

DENISON, Tex. (KXII) -- A business is suing the city of Denison for not letting them come to town.

It's called Winners Sweepstakes. People can pay to play electronic games to win cash and they say a portion of their profit goes to local charity.

According to the lawsuit, City of Denison officials said the electronic gaming systems used at Winners Sweepstakes were "gambling devices."

But the company that owns Winners Sweepstakes, called Strategic Fundraising Solutions, said that's just not right.

"It's really giving back so I don't have a problem with coming in," said Kyron Knight, who went to Winners Sweepstakes in Sherman for the second time ever Monday.

It's a place where people can pay to play on what they call "electronic terminals," at the same time, donate to charity and have the chance to win cash prizes.

"I enjoy it," Knight said.

The business is owned by Strategic Fundraising Solutions, LLC.

In February, that company filed a lawsuit against the City of Denison and the city's chief building official Betty Floyd for denying their request to set up shop on West Morton Street saying the machines are "gambling devices."

But Strategic Fundraising Solutions said there's one big difference.

Before someone starts playing a game, it tells them what the outcome will be, so they have the option to play or exit the game, taking out the element of chance.

When defining a "gambling device," Texas law states it's illegal if the award given is determined only or partially by chance.

Sierra Flinn lives in Denison and said she doesn't see a problem with it.

"I mean it's still for charity and its helping," Flinn said.

One of those charities is Traffick911, a non-profit based in Addison, working to free youth from sex trafficking.

The CEO said in October 2018, Strategic Fundraising Solutions donated $267 and in January, close to $1,300.

Strategic Fundraising Solutions is asking for $100,000 from the city.

But the city is claiming immunity because they're a government unit.

"I don't see any problems and it keeps people out of the streets and keeps people from running around," Knight said.

The attorney for Strategic Fundraising Solutions declined to comment.

The city of Denison's attorney did not return our phone call Monday.