Monday, June 24, 2024

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Graham, NC 27253
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Burlington police close down three sweepstakes cafés


Police in Burlington have pulled the plug on a third suspected sweepstakes café after last week’s forcible closure of two other gaming concerns that were allegedly operating contrary to state anti-gambling laws.

Members of the city’s police force ultimately raided “B-Town Bingo” on Tuesday after an investigation brought on by community complaints found that this business at 1821-B North Church Street was offering online games of chance that are prohibited in North Carolina.
In the midst of Tuesday’s unannounced search, the city’s police department issued citations to three people who appear to have had a hand in the operations of “B-Town Bingo.”

B-town Bingo, at 1821-B North Church Street was closed by Burlington police earlier this week for operating an illegal sweepstakes operation on the premises.

According to the police department, 41-year-old Corey Lamonte Albright of Graham, 34-year-old Ashley Lacole Dixon of Burlington, and 60-year-old Olivia Elaine Martin of Mebane have each been accused of promoting, operating, or conducting illegal server-based electronic games. The trio have also been charged with operating or possessing slot machines in violation of state law.

The department filed these charges just six days after its officers shuttered two other establishments that were allegedly providing patrons with access to similar “sweepstakes” or “fish games.”

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According to the police department, last Wednesday’s raids on “Jokers” at 2405 North Church Street and “King Kong” at 2316 Corporation Parkway were also inspired by complaints from the community. The department concedes that it has recently received such several tips – both about brand new sweepstakes cafes and those that have reopened since a citywide crackdown on illegal gaming roughly three years ago. Among those that have reopened after they were previously shuttered is “King Kong,” which was originally situated on the other side of Corporation Parkway from its latest location.


Sweepstakes cafés closed by Burlington police during the past week include: Jokers Tobacco, 2405 North Church Street (above); and King Kong, 2316 Corporation Parkway (below).

The department’s top brass had originally relied on voluntary compliance when they began to enforce the state’s anti-gambling laws against sweepstakes cafés in 2018. According to the police department, some 30 businesses ultimately closed during this enforcement effort, which zeroed in on the same kinds of electronic gaming machines that investigators have since found at “Jokers,” “King Kong,” and “B-Town Bingo.”

Aside from the three people accused of illegalities at “B-Town Bingo,” the city’s police department has also lodged charges against three individuals associated with the two businesses that it raided last Wednesday.

As part of their case against “Jokers,” police have charged 20-year-old Ali Muhammed al Krawi with promoting, operating, or conducting illegal server-based electronic games at this now-defunct business. A resident of 823 Northwood Hills Avenue in Durham, al Krawi was reportedly released after he received a citation from Burlington’s police department.

The police department has filed this same charge, along with another for the operation or possession of an illegal slot machine, against King Kong’s operators Luv Alkesh Amin and Demond Deangelo Wiley.

A resident of a 691 East Oakleaf Road, Apartment E, in Asheboro, Amin was ultimately released from police custody on a written promise to appear in court. Meanwhile, Wiley has incurred additional charges for allegedly carrying an illegally concealed weapon and for the illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The 46-year-old black male who hails from 406 Lakeside Avenue in Burlington has since been incarcerated under a $20,000 bond.

According to the police department, more charges could be announced as investigators continue to seek out illegal gaming concerns that may be operating within Burlington’s municipal limits. The department notes that its commitment to eradicate these businesses is about more than just the moral hazard of gambling.

“[A] 2018 crime analysis conducted by the Burlington police department confirmed that violent crimes occur in locations that conduct Internet sweepstakes businesses,” the department elaborated in a statement last week. “Crimes cited in the 2018 crime analysis included 1st degree murder, armed robbery, shootings, and other serious assaults, highlighting the importance of the proactive measures now taken by the police department.”

The department urges anyone with information about illegal gaming to contact its headquarters at 336-229-3500. Residents may also call Crime Stoppers at 336-229-7100 to leave an anonymous tip.

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