Gaming businesses close after city issues enforcement warning
WADESBORO – Most gaming facilities in Wadesboro have closed after the Wadesboro Police Department sent out a notice to owners, cracking down on cash payment violations with electronic gaming machines.
The police department first sent a notice to the owners and operators of the city’s raffle and fish game businesses on June 1. He said after July 7, the Wadesboro Police Department will begin charging violations of the legal ban on electronic game machines, which includes electronic raffle machines, video game machines and machines. to slot.
Under North Carolina law, any machine, including fish games and the like, that pays cash in any amount is prohibited. It is also prohibited to earn reward points or credits redeemable for cash. Other violations of the law include any machine that accepts eight points or credits in a single game turn and any machine that is used in a raffle that uses an entertaining display.
An offender is guilty of a Class 1 felony for the first offense, a Class H felony for the second offense, and a Class G felony for the third offense or a subsequent offense, depending on the notice. .
The notice was intended to give owners the opportunity to assess their compliance with legal requirements before the police department initiates criminal proceedings.
“Since then, we understand that many, if not all, of these establishments have closed,” CEO David Edwards said in an email. “The WPD will continue to investigate these issues and take any appropriate enforcement action, but the City is not yet aware of any criminal proceedings that have been initiated.
Edwards estimated that a total of nine establishments established in the city have closed as a result of the notice.
The crackdown comes after several important decisions of the North Carolina Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals have been rendered in recent years. The decisions taken in these cases have helped to clarify the statutes.
“In light of recent court rulings and law enforcement concerns over criminality associated with electronic gaming establishments, the WPD has determined that it will prioritize enforcement in this area, starting with l ‘public notice,’ Edwards said.
The notice is unrelated to the recent city council ordinance passed on March 13. The ordinance that was adopted is the set of operating rules for city gaming companies. Edwards explained that the ordinance does not have the weight of a law with a criminal sanction.
The ordinance that was passed also only applies to new electronic game companies wishing to open within the city limits of Wadesboro.
Under the ordinance, electronic game businesses cannot be located within a quarter of a mile from the property line of a church, place of worship, public or private school, a library, a park, a daycare or a residential area. No electronic game business can be located within half a mile of each other.
Hours are limited from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and no neon or flashing light or floating device may be visible from the outside. Tinted windows or curtains are prohibited by municipal decree.
The ordinance requires the business owner to sign an affidavit stating that there will be no cash payments or promotions, which informs the owners that by doing so, he is in violation of a state law. .
Contact Liz O’Connell at 704-994-5471 or [email protected]