By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
December 1, 2021
Davidson County Sheriff Richie Simmons is putting operators of sweepstakes parlors on notice: the businesses are illegal in North Carolina and not welcome in his jurisdiction. After investigating for over a year to verify what was happening in these places of business, his officers recently shut down 34 sweepstakes parlors.
Although nine of the operations have been able to remain open following the filing of an injunction last week, the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, commended Simmons for enforcing the law at a time when some authorities are seemingly turning a blind eye.
“Sweepstakes parlors are like mini-casinos. If people see these establishments in their communities, they should know that they operate in defiance of state law. This matter has been through the courts several times, and the courts have upheld the statute which prohibits their operation as constitutional,” Creech said. “In Davidson County, the Sheriff is doing his job – enforcing the law. Law enforcement in other places where these parlors exist should do likewise and close these places.”
Simmons told the media that his deputies discovered the businesses were handing out cash for wins and rigged the games. He said the businesses were linked to other criminal activity.
FOX affiliate WGHP reported that there are five sweepstakes businesses in just a one-mile stretch of Old U.S. Highway 52.
Creech called the proliferation of gambling in a state as socially conservative as North Carolina “disturbing.”
“Wherever sweepstakes parlors are allowed to continue, we are witnessing a form of lawlessness in those communities. Wherever pastors are not speaking out publicly against these places, we are witnessing a failure by the church to strike at the heart of covetousness, which is idolatry,” he said. “Sweepstakes parlors in a community are indicative of a culture of narcissism. We cannot afford to treat this stuff like it’s as harmless as playing Monopoly or Bridge.”
Creech pointed to reports this week of an overnight fight at a sweepstakes parlor off New Bern Avenue in Raleigh as an example of the types of criminal activity fostered by gambling establishments. The row, which began in the wee hours of Monday morning, resulted in a car chase and a shooting.
“This stuff is a blight on any community. There is nothing respectable about it. As a gambling operation, sweepstakes parlors are places of predatory practices. What’s more, they are often intertwined with other predatory enterprises such as drugs and prostitution,” Creech said. “What was happening in Davidson County is proof.”