Sheriff’s office: Salisbury fish arcade was illegal gambling casino
Published 2:33 pm Thursday, March 19, 2020
SALISBURY — One day after raiding the Lucky Duck Cafe, a fish arcade located on South Main Street, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday said the establishment was an illegal gambling casino.
Investigators executed a search warrant at the business, 3402 South Main St., and said it was operating under the guise of an arcade, according to a Rowan County Sheriff’s Office statement. Two employees of the business, a manager and a cashier, were present along with several customers who were actively gambling. The manager was armed with a handgun, which investigators seized, the sheriff’s office said.
The manager said he did not know the identity of the owner of the business. But the sheriff’s office said an investigation has shown that the business is owned by a Kernersville contractor.
That investigation, which the sheriff’s office said as an undercover operation, occurred over the course of 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, according to the sheriff’s office statement.
The investigation showed business had approximately 66 gaming terminals, including two “fish tables.” The business was using different software, including Horizon, Fortune and Lightning.
The Rowan sheriff’s office seized a variety of items involved in the operation of the casino, including CPUs, printers, transaction records, a money-counting machine, a cash register and a surveillance system. Also seized was $4,821.
The raid comes after the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office in January 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 businesses were told to cease operation by January 20 or risk consequences, such as arrest and seizure of equipment and profits from their illegal businesses. After businesses were notified, some ceased operation, some remained open and some briefly closed and then reopened.
According to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, the Lucky Duck Café was one of those establishments that closed and then reopened.
Notifications were done by way of hand-delivered letters and through the media. Operators were specifically told that the sheriff’s office intended to vigorously enforce the state laws as they pertained to illegal gambling, which included sweepstakes, fish games and the like, the statement said.
During the previous several years the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said it has received multiple complaints from the public, law enforcement partners, and city and county planning and zoning officials about the “fish arcades.”
The investigation is being referred to Rowan County District Attorney Brandy Cook for criminal charges.