Local News

Johnston Casino Raid Nets Poker Champ

Posted September 11, 2007

— A professional poker star is in trouble with the law after a casino bust in Johnston County.

Maciek "Mike" Gracz has been charged with misdemeanor gambling after he and dozens of others were arrested Saturday in a building used as an illegal gambling establishment at 156 Bear Road, off N.C. Highway 242 in a rural area near Benson.

Gracz, a former student at North Carolina State University, faced a similar charge in Guilford County in 2004.

Alcohol Law Enforcement seized a craps table, roulette wheel, blackjack and poker tables. They said the building also had a fully staffed kitchen to feed gamblers.

According to the search warrant, complainants said the building was used for a number of poker games, such as Texas Hold 'Em, blackjack and roulette. The establishment hosted several big tournaments a year, with large amounts of money bet and 40 to 50 people participating in the games, complainants said in the search warrant.

Authorities arrested 71 people, including property owner Marvin Ray Johnson, and confiscated more than $70,000. They also said the site could be linked to others in North Carolina, and there could be more arrests.



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  • yabo2k3 Sep 12, 2007

    *sarcasm on*
    Why don't they do something better like herding up all the illegals, branding them on the forehead with "ILLEGAL", drop them off on a remote deserted island of cannibals?
    *sarcasm off*

    Come on. These 70+ people are doing absolutely nothing to harm others. The only thing their are doing is harming their own bank accounts. There are so many more things the Gov't can do: ship back illegals, drug enforcement, gang prevention, fix Durham, get rid of all criminal Politicians (that may be over 75% in our state). This is ridiculous. These charges are misdemeanors.

  • us citizen Sep 12, 2007

    I think the purpose of the raid was to collect the $70K. If there had not been a lot of money involved it probably would have been left alone. I'm like everyone else, go after the drug dealers, thieves, and killers. You know they still have not made an arrest in the Bonnie Neighbors case.

  • shine Sep 11, 2007

    North Carolina is now moving all gambling to China. This will include all Bingo.
    Do not chew on the poker chips... for purposes of lead paint.

  • yukonjohn3 Sep 11, 2007

    Hey, if all the writers on this story are so upset at how law enforcement dollars were being wasted by this bust contacted your legislators over this, maybe something could be changed. I know NC does not have referendum law there, but hound your legislator about how stupid this is to bust gambling. Gangs are a MUCH worse problem, as is people robbing establishments to buy drugs that should be legal. Law Enforcement is skewed on its priorities and should be given more direction from the legislature on what is illegal.

  • pbjbeach Sep 11, 2007

    i am personnaly suprised that they took any kind of action as that this place was undoubtly being run as a business enterprize. it is a wonder to me that state government didn't give them incentives packages to help keep the dealers from losing their jobs an taking their business venture overseas

  • Wheelerx5__Ready for Football Sep 11, 2007

    One of those arrested is named Harry Bottoms. LOL!

  • Wheelerx5__Ready for Football Sep 11, 2007

    Never mind...there's a link at the top of the page. Duh.

  • Wheelerx5__Ready for Football Sep 11, 2007

    Does anyone have a link to a list of those arrested? I want to see how many I know. :)

  • sobercuban Sep 11, 2007

    I agree with 'I agree'. The only time I've ever been robbed at gunpoint was at the poker raid in Cary in March.

    $70k was most certainly not the house take. Do writers even understand how a poker tournament works?

    I'm just waiting for the state to start making allegations that the money was being used to fund terrorists ...

  • twixandbetwwen Sep 11, 2007

    Just remember that both the local and federal governments don't want any competition to their sanctioned gaming activities. I wonder if the locals would bust a big BINGO game down at the local church.