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Burlington police shut down two more sweepstakes cafés

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Burlington’s police department has pulled the plug on two suspected sweepstakes cafés that were operating in apparent violation of the state’s anti-gambling laws.

These two businesses at 2405 North Church Street and 1609-C South Church Street were forcibly shuttered last week after the city’s police officers searched the premises of each establishment for illegal gaming equipment, according to a press release from the police department on Tuesday.

A sweepstakes café at 1609-C South Church Street was one of two closed down by Burlington police.
The second location of the closed sweepstakes café was at 2405 North Church Street.

According to the police department, these searches produced evidence that both businesses were violating a state statute which prohibits commercial venues from offering access to so-called Internet sweepstakes and other electronic games of chance that tempt players with “entertaining displays.”

These busts are merely the latest in a series of anti-gaming operations that the police department has launched since 2018 when it began to crack down on the sweepstakes cafés that once proliferated throughout the community. The police department initially persuaded some 30 of these businesses to close up shop voluntarily. Since then, officers have sporadically received word of other sweepstakes cafés that have been operating in apparent contravention of state law.

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In the summer of 2021, the city’s police officers shut down three alleged sweepstakes cafés, followed by three more in December of 2022. According to the police department, the two latest closures were pulled off with help from the Alamance Narcotics Enforcement Team as well as the municipal police department in Greensboro.

Mark Rascoe, the captain in charge of Burlington’s investigative division, contends that any other sweepstakes cafés which pop up in the city can expect the same chilling welcome from the police.

“The Burlington Police Department is committed to taking proactive and preventative measures to ensure public safety,” Rascoe declared in a news release Tuesday. “These businesses, and others that cause harm to our community, will not be tolerated.”

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