Law enforcement in North Carolina raided six alleged illegal gambling businesses last week and confiscated unlicensed gambling machines, weapons, cash, and drugs.
The Randolph County Sheriff’s Office says federal, state, and local officials conducted a two-day operation investigating suspected illegal casinos. The sheriff’s office was assisted by the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE), Liberty Police Department, and US Homeland Security Investigations in seizing what the law enforcement agencies deem to be illegal gambling terminals and games.
During the probe, Randolph County Sheriff Gregory Seabolt said, “Customers were given cash payouts for credits won on the machines, and businesses were conducting or promoting sweepstakes through entertainment displays, which is illegal in North Carolina.”
A huge problem with these types of businesses is that they attract more crime into the area, such as assaults, rapes, and larcenies. My job as sheriff is to protect our citizens from crime and illegal activity, and I plan to do just that,” Seabolt stated.
The six raided locations were 64 Skillz in Asheboro, Winners Circle Skilled Games in Archdale, 311 Biz Center in Archdale, Big Black Dog Entertainment in Randleman, Bonus Spins in Liberty, and Franklinville Business Center in Ramseur.
The owners of the six raided businesses claim they’re not operating gambling, but skill games. The controversial machines have infiltrated states up and down the east coast.
Unlike a slot machine, which automatically displays a winning payline to the gambler and dishes out credits, a player on a skill machine must tap a winning combination. Proponents of the skill machines say they do not constitute illegal gambling. Seabolt isn’t buying it.
“North Carolina has gambling laws in place to protect the public. The concept for these illegal gaming establishments is based entirely on persons losing more money than they win,” the sheriff opined. “I urge the citizens of our county to please contact their representatives in Raleigh to voice and address their concerns over these types of businesses.”
North Carolina does not permit commercial casinos, but does have a compact with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. That allows the tribe to operate slot machines and table games at its two casinos in the southwestern part of the state.
Skill gaming devices have proliferated in several states. They are the subject of a legal fight in Pennsylvania, the state’s 12 commercial casinos vigorously protesting against the unlicensed machines, while bar and restaurant owners reeling because of COVID-19 argue they’re saving their businesses.
Virginia lawmakers decided to temporarily legalize skill gaming machines during the pandemic. However, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) says they will lose their legal footing come July 1, 2021.