On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at the Lucky Duck Café, 3402 South Main Street, Salisbury, North Carolina. The business, which was operating under the guise of an arcade, was in actuality an illegal gambling casino. Two employees of the business, a manager and a cashier, were present, along with a number of customers, who were actively gambling. The manager was armed with a .9-millimeter handgun, which was seized. The manager indicated that he did not know the identity of the owner of the business. However, the investigation has shown that the business is owned by a Kernersville, North Carolina, contractor.
The RCSO conducted an undercover operation at the business during the past two months. Investigators were able to bet credits in amounts exceeding state law, and winnings were paid in cash, also in violation of state law. The investigation showed that the business had approximately 66 gaming terminals, including two “fish tables.” The casino was using different software, including Horizon, Fortune and Lightning.
The RCSO seized a variety of items involved in the operation of the casino, to include CPU’s, printers, transactions records, a money counting machine, a cash register, and a surveillance system. Also seized was $4,821 in United States currency.
In January 2020, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office began notifying operators of suspected casinos 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 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. The Lucky Duck Café was one of the latter.
The sheriff’s office will also notice the property owner, that if the casino restarts its operation, the sheriff’s office will seek all civil remedies at its disposal to forfeit the property for being a public nuisance.
The investigation is being referred to Rowan County District Attorney Brandy Cook for criminal charges.