RALEIGH, N.C. -- More than 100 convenience stores, restaurants and other retail sites were raided in North Carolina on May 5 as part of a statewide gambling sting.
Special agents with Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) led the statewide effort to stem the tide of illegal gaming activities, the agency said. The undercover operation, dubbed “Cannonball,” resulted in multiple agencies participating in searches of 115 business locations across the state.
The searches resulted in the seizure of hundreds of illegal video gaming machines, cocaine and more than $1 million in cash.
No arrests were made, but future arrests are anticipated as the investigation progresses, the agency said.
During the investigation, undercover ALE agents interacted with the illegal gaming machines at each location. Agents were also able to observe patrons using the machines. The investigation discovered the 115 establishments were operating illegal gaming machines by paying out cash winnings to patrons placing bets on the machines, rather than just providing the machines for amusement.
The raids are a result of ALE’s Community Betterment initiative, which aims to increase the quality of life for all who live in or visit North Carolina. ALE initiated this investigation due to the large volume of both citizen and law enforcement complaints surrounding these businesses.
“Other police agencies and sheriffs’ offices in North Carolina have also received numerous complaints on these types of illegal gambling and video gaming operations," said ALE branch head Mark Senter. "The raids today are a wake-up call to businesses that provide illegal video gaming.”
ALE agents will also submit violation reports to the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Commission (ABC) and North Carolina Education Lottery for locations found to be in violation of their permits.
North Carolina ABC chairman Jim Gardner said any permitted locations found in violation could result with a fine or suspension of their ABC permits. Gambling and illegal video gaming machines are prohibited under state law and are not allowed in locations holding ABC permits.
Most of the illegal video gaming machines seized were operating Gift Surplus software, which previously had an injunction placed against the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office. In July 2015, that injunction was overturned by the North Carolina Supreme Court.
Click here to view a list of the c-store locations raided.