Catawba deputies seized 42 machines Wednesday evening from a video sweepstakes parlor in the eastern part of the county.
Sheriff Coy Reid said the machines were confiscated from Vegas at the Lake on East N.C. 150 a few hours after an undercover officer went into the business and played games there.
The store’s manager, Miranda Setzer, also was cited for misdemeanor operating of sweepstakes machines. Reid said he believes she is the first person to be cited since a 2010 state ban on sweepstakes games finally went into effect earlier this month.
Many sweepstakes parlors across North Carolina shut down Jan. 3 but some have since reopened after making adjustments to machines to try to comply with the law.
Reid said Catawba investigators had received several calls and complaints about Vegas at the Lake being open in the past week.
An undercover officer was sent to the business Wednesday afternoon. After that, the sheriff’s office consulted with prosecutors and it was determined that the business was in violation of the state ban. Deputies returned to the store around 6:45 p.m. to execute a search warrant.
Reid said the business was in violation of several parts of the state law, but didn’t want to go into specifics.
About 10 customers were at the business at the time deputies were there. None of them were charged Wednesday, though Reid said authorities plan to talk with the District Attorney’s Office to determine whether to file any additional charges in the case.
Sweepstakes games became popular in recent years because of what some saw as a loophole in the 2007 ban of video poker games in the state. Customers buy Internet or phone time that gives them the opportunity to uncover potential cash and prizes with mouse clicks on a computer screen. The games became popular in recent years because of what some saw as a loophole in the 2007 ban of video poker games in the state.
In 2010, state lawmakers passed a new law specifically banning video sweepstakes game. But it was challenged by amusement machine and other companies. Last month, though, the N.C. Supreme Court backed the state law and businesses were given a couple weeks to shut down.