The casino and gambling industry has taken a huge hit over the last few weeks from the coronavirus pandemic. Now, some gambling operations in the state of North Carolina are being targeted by state and local law enforcement to make these locations safer.
Fish table games are the number one cause of these raids, as authorities have cited that these games could lead to serious crime and put people’s lives in danger.
Earlier this week, an arcade in the town of Salisbury was raided by deputies, and arrests are expected to follow in the next couple of weeks. One of the main reasons that this location was under investigation is because it was the scene of a fatal shooting in 2018.
Authorities and lawmakers believe that these fish table games create dangerous situations, and small towns throughout the state are wanting some help in getting this crime out.
Fish table games are video games that are mounted on a table and are extremely popular throughout North Carolina. Bettors operate the game by moving a joystick around, and “shooting” at fish that are located on the screen. Each “fish” is given different odds, and the points add up to give customers a chance at some real money winnings.
There has been a longstanding debate around fish table games and whether or not they are a game of chance or a game of skill. Law enforcement agencies contend that these are games of chance, and therefore deem them illegal in North Carolina.
Arcade owners argue that these fish table games are a game of chance, and should be allowed to stay in their establishments.
Numerous Machines Found
The location that was raided earlier this week was FishZilla Arcade in Salisbury, NC. Deputies were able to obtain a search warrant, and they found numerous illegal gambling machines on the premises.
The deputies seized 37 gaming terminals, four fish tables that had 38 total terminals, and several other illegal games. After the search was over, FishZilla Arcade was shut down, and there is no timetable to reopen.
One of the major reasons that local law enforcement began investigating the FishZilla Arcade is that they were receiving several complaints from residents. There was a two-month investigation that took place before courts gave the order to raid the business and shut it down.
Customers were able to use the machines by betting credits, and then their winnings were paid out in real cash. Both of those factors violate state law and led to the seizure and arrest.
The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office made an official announcement after the raid and detailed all of the games that were on the premises. The local agency also determined the ringleaders of the operation at Salisbury, and formal charges are expected to be filed at a later date.
The Rowan County District Attorney’s office will have to review the case before deciding how to proceed.
This isn’t the first time that authorities have raided these types of establishments in the state, and it likely won’t be the last. A pair of illegal casinos were raided in Hertford County just a few weeks ago, and arrests were made to two men.
That raid actually led to the seizure of more than $90,000 and also two pistols. Jamil Marwin Yazaji and Rawad Sabra were the two men that were arrested and charged with operating an illegal gambling ring. Local authorities continue to crack down on the illegal gambling industry in North Carolina, especially fish table games.