Rowan County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) investigators seized 85 illegal gambling machines from FishZilla, a strip mall arcade in Salisbury, North Carolina, on Aug. 5.
Police have shut down the facility, and the RCSO plans to seek charges against three employees.
Illegal gambling machines seized in North Carolina
According to the Sheriff’s office, the 85 playing stations seized included table slot machines, stand-up machines, and fish tables. Along with this equipment, investigators also collected gambling-related documents and almost $18,500 in cash during the raid.
Players wagered on these machines using credits, and the facility then paid out any credit earnings in cash.
Those who operate only a few of these illegal machines are subject to a bevy of fines.
Operating five or more illegal slots, however, warrants a felony charge. One manager and two cashiers now face charges for the illegal conduct.
Raids on the rise in North Carolina
This hasn’t been the only raid in recent Rowan County history. Investigators say illegal gaming operations have made millions off players in the past two years.
Slot machines are strictly prohibited in North Carolina according to state law.
Alternatively, people have long debated the legality of the so-called fish tables seized in the bust.
Proponents argue that these games are based on skill rather than luck and should be permitted.
However, North Carolina law currently prohibits them.
Legal forms of gambling in North Carolina
North Carolina does provide entirely legal gambling options for those in the state, however. The law permits a state lottery as well as casino games conducted on tribal land.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians operates two casinos within North Carolina. It owns Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in Asheville, which is roughly 1.5 hours away from Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
It also operates Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino in Murphy, about two hours away from Chattanooga.
And as of July 1, there is now a third gambling location.
The Catawba Indian Nation launched its temporary casino location in Kings Mountain while construction on its permanent Catawba Two Kings Casino continues.