Granite Quarry business owner faces gambling-related charges

Published 3:02 pm Thursday, May 14, 2020

GRANITE QUARRY — A business owner was charged this week with operating a gambling establishment. Her arrest comes months after the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office sent notification letters to the “fish arcade” business.

Diane Sboto, 59, of Lexington, was charged on Tuesday with operating a video gaming machine, operation/possession of a slot machine, possessing gaming machines that allowed the machines to exceed the limits of eight accumulated credits or replays and operation of more than five video gaming machines, which is a Class G felony.

On March 3, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office raided the business, the Granite Quarry Arcade, located at 304 North Salisbury GQ Ave., Granite Quarry.

The sheriff’s office previously sent letters to about 30 fish arcade businesses notifying them that the law enforcement agency would be enforcing the state’s gambling laws. The sheriff’s office said the businesses were told to cease operation by Jan. 20 or risk the consequences, such as arrest, seizure of equipment and profits from their illegal businesses. If any gaming establishments reopen after the expiration of the governor’s executive orders, the sheriff’s office will “aggressively investigate and prosecute” those involved, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

After business were notified in January, some ceased operation, some remained open and some briefly closed and then reopened.

In a previous statement, the Rowan sheriff’s office said it found 43 server-based gaming machines, operating with monitors and a mouse at the terminals in Granite Quarry.

Investigators found 10 customers 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, and was owned by an individual with an address of 1910 N.C. 66 South, Kernersville, which was another arcade business, known as “The Fruit Stand.”

The manager working the location admitted employees 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.

Sboto was released on a written promise to appear in court.