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Authorities Raid Stores For Illegal Video Poker Machines

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RALEIGH, N.C. — From Raleigh to the coast, FBI agents were busy Monday busting businesses with video poker machines.

The FBI said illegal gambling is getting worse across the state, taking in between $1 billion to $2 billion a year. They are conducting a number of raids with local authorities to check out convenience stores that may have illegal video poker machines.

"They came in and said, 'We have a warrant to search the property. We are shutting you down,'" store cashier Demika Strickland said.

Video poker machines are legal in North Carolina, with some restrictions. Each location is only allowed three machines, and those machines must be registered with the local sheriff's office. Since 2000, new machines have not been permitted in the state.

Video poker machines cannot give out cash prizes, however, they can give out gift certificates for merchandise up to $10.

Authorities said the machines may be linked to organized crime. They also said that the latest round of busts is part of an ongoing investigation, and that there will be more raids.