Local News

Details Of FBI Raid On Video Poker Machines Released

Posted June 20, 2002

— The U.S. District Court released search warrants Thursday that give some detail into what the FBI found in their raid on area businesses with video poker machines Monday.

Video poker is one of North Carolina's dirty little secrets. Everyone knows that businesses pay out cash winnings even though it is illegal. But that has largely been ignored -- until now.

The U.S. District Court released 19 search warrants Thursday for businesses in Wake and Johnston counties. FBI agents confiscated 68 video poker machines and nearly $200,000 in cash.

Details from the 164-page report show agents confiscated the most equipment and cash from a large, game-leasing business owned by Ricky Godwin.

"I was sorry to hear that my friend Ricky Godwin was involved in this operation. I haven't had the chance to talk with him," said Rep. Leo Daughtry, house minority leader.

Daughtry represents the gaming industry's trade group in North Carolina. He admits that he has received campaign contributions from Godwin and others in the industry.

Daughtry said the money does not buy political influence.

"There's nothing illegal, that's been going on for years. There are 800 lobbyists who work these halls for their clients and that's just the way its been here as well as in Washington," he said.

Investigators confiscated machines from restaurants in Raleigh and Cary, convenience stores in Fuquay-Varina and a bingo parlor in Garner.

In 2000, the General Assembly put restrictions on video poker. Daughtry said it may be time to revisit the law.

"We are trying to live underneath the law and trying to abide by the law. There are certain things in the law that we might be able to do to make it better for everyone.

No charges have been field in connection with Monday's raids, which is part of an ongoing probe.

So far, 11 people have been charged with illegal gambling across the state.

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