24 businesses were served this week with cease and desist letters regarding illegal internet café and sweepstakes machines in several counties, according to District Attorney Seth Edwards.
The counties include Beaufort, Hyde, Martin, Tyrrell, and Washington.
The letter states that effective seven days from the service of the letter, law enforcement agencies will consider criminal charges for any business that continues to violate North Carolina law regarding gambling and sweepstakes operations such as electronic sweepstakes, video gaming and slot machines (including fish games).
Edwards, who personally accompanied agents with the North Carolina Law Enforcement (NC ALE) in serving the letters, stated that these illegal games are attracting violent crime, leading to armed robberies all over NC and sometimes death as was seen recently here at the Players Vape in Beaufort County.
“It’s one thing to lose an entire paycheck playing these illegal games,” said Edwards. But it’s another to lose a life. This is no longer just a moral or ethical issue-it has become an issue of public safety and one that cannot be overlooked.”
In the event a gambling and sweepstakes operation did not receive a letter, Edwards indicated that business runs the risk of criminal prosecution if it continues to violate North Carolina law.