Operation Pot-O-Gold Seizes Several Video Poker Machines in North Carolina
Police officers in Pitt County, North Carolina, have executed multiple search warrants across the Greenville and Pitt County areas to bust businesses with illegal video poker machines.
According to reports, 29 separate search warrants led to officers seizing 95 video poker machines, along with more than $33,000 in cash found inside the machines.
Sheriff Neil Elks said he had hoped officers would confiscate over 80 machines, following months of investigation into potential video poker gambling, which is illegal in North Carolina as well as South Carolina.
Pitt County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Christy Wallace said that for months, undercover officers went into the businesses and gambled on the video poker machines, receiving payouts. The operation began after the department received a ruling from the United States Supreme Court in October 2013. The ruling upheld the North Carolina Supreme Court’s decision that video poker machines were illegal gambling devices.
South Carolina recently passed legislation about several sweepstakes machines, ruling that they constituted illegal video poker gambling devices and were not, as many business owners suggested, prize machines in the style of McDonald’s Monopoly Sweepstakes.
Greenville Police Chief Hassan Aden says operations such as these can be very dangerous. “There’s guns, there’s money, there’s unknown other people inside these locations,” he said.
“When we stop in a convenience store and purchase something from the convenience store, I sit there and have to see the video machine in front of me, it’s like we walk in a room and somebody’s smoking a joint. It’s like am I gonna turn my head, or am I gonna do something about it,” said Sheriff Elks.
However, Sheriff Elks added that some of the sweepstakes machines are still standing. “The new software, some people are still saying that it’s questionable. We feel like it’s in compliance with the law,” said Sheriff Elks.
So far, the video poker machines have been seized, but their owners have not been charged with criminal activity. Officers are combing through the evidence to determine if the machines’ owners face charges.
The Strom Law Firm Prosecutes Operators of Video Poker Machines
Strom Law Firm was one of the first law firms to bring suits against the video gambling and poker industry in the late 1990s seeking to recover gambling losses. Since that time, Strom Law Firm has litigated a couple of video poker cases, including a case against a local Columbia restaurant.
With the new influx of video gambling machines, South Carolina citizens face substantial gambling losses, and damage to their families and communities. South Carolina has several laws in place to protect gamblers and their families from the financial ruin that their gambling addiction can cause.
A family or relative may file suit anytime within one year from the time the money is lost gambling. If you or a family member has lost money in video poker within the last year, you may have legal rights, and should contact a lawyer immediately.
The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm have experience with video poker cases, as part of state criminal defense. We offer a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case. To have a lawyer evaluate your case, please call us at 803.252.4800.