LIBERTY, NC (LIBERTY PD – PRESS RLEEASE) [ARCHIVED]– On January 20, 2021, members from the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement Division and Liberty Police Department raided Bonus Spins, located at 218 North Greensboro Street, Liberty, N.C. The location was suspected to be operating an illegal casino and gaming machines.
ALE’s Gaming Section and the Liberty Police Department started a joint investigation after local law enforcement received multiple complaints from community members about illegal gaming and gambling. Liberty Police Chief requested the ALE Gaming Section to assist their agency with the approval of the District Attorney’s Office. Undercover ALE special agents confirmed winners were given cash payouts, a violation of North Carolina gaming laws.
North Carolina State law prohibits players from being awarded cash or cash equivalent whether it is a game of chance or skill. Cash payouts for arcade-style games, such as pinball, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, or Frogger are also illegal. State law also prohibits a gaming machine to allow the user to bet over eight credits in a single play or conduct, promote, enter or reveal a sweepstake through an entertaining display. Throughout the State, special agents found the most common types of illegal games were video slot games, video poker games, and video keno games.
“North Carolina has gambling laws in place to protect the public and these types of illegal business are not regulated to ensure the customer is protected. The business model for these illegal locations is based upon players losing more money than they will ever win. The machines are pre-set to ensure they are only profitable for the owners,” said Special Agent in Charge Chris Poole, head of ALE’s Gaming Section. “These illegal gaming machines have been widely described as the ‘crack cocaine’ of illegal gambling because of the detrimental financial and emotional effects toll they have had on so many families.”
“We have been following the court proceedings related to the gaming industry very closely and the gaming machines related to this search warrant are clearly a violation of the law,” said Liberty Police Chief David Semrad. “We will continue to investigate these type crimes and will not tolerate illegal gaming and gambling in Liberty. Thank you to the ALE Gaming Section and our District Attorney’s Office led Andy Gregson for their efforts in these types of investigations and their on-going efforts.”
Law enforcement seized multiple illegal gaming boards, a firearm, U.S. currency and documents during the raid. This is an on-going investigation and felony criminal charges of operating illegal slot machines and gambling are expected next week. The owner and operator of the location was identified as Jonathan Lyle Rickman, who resides in Tennessee.