In January 2020, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office began notifying operators of suspected illegal gambling casinos, operating under the guise of arcades, that the sheriff’s office would begin enforcement of North Carolina Law, specifically G.S. 14-306.4. The notifications were done by way of hand delivered letters and publicity through the media. The operators were specifically told that the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office intended to vigorously enforce the laws of the State of North Carolina, as they pertained to illegal gambling, which included sweepstakes, fish games and the like. During the past several years the sheriff’s office has received multiple complaints from the public, law enforcement partners, and city and county planning and zoning officials about these illegal operations. These businesses have been a magnet for crime, including illegal possession of firearms, violations of the North Carolina Private Protective Services Act, drug trafficking, robbery and murder. The businesses were told to cease operation by January 20, 2020, or risk the consequences, such as arrest, seizure of equipment and profits from their illegal businesses. After business were notified, some ceased operation, some remained open and some briefly closed and then reopened.
On Tuesday, March 4, 2020, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at the Granite Quarry Arcade, 304 North Salisbury GQ Avenue in Granite Quarry, North Carolina, following a one month investigation regarding video based gambling at the location. The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, assisted by the Salisbury Police Department, Mocksville Police Department, Granite Quarry-Faith Police Department, and the Davie County Sheriff’s Office, raided the location and located 43 server based gaming machines, operating with monitors and a mouse at the terminals. Approximately 10 customers were actively gambling at the time of the execution of the warrant. The sheriff’s office seized $4,413 in cash, 43 computer towers related to the operation of the gaming equipment, and other computer equipment connected to the point of sale window and the surveillance system at the location. The investigation showed that the operation had been ongoing since July 2019, and was owned by an individual showing an address of 1910 Highway 66 South, Kernersville, North Carolina, which was another arcade business, known as “The Fruit Stand.” The manager working the location admitted that they were being paid in cash, did not know the identity of the person that owned the business, and that it was a gambling establishment. The manager acknowledged that winnings were being paid out in cash, as much as $2,000 at one time.
The investigation is ongoing and charges will be forthcoming after consultation with the Rowan County District Attorney’s Office.
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