NC authorities arrest three, shut down five businesses in illegal gambling operation

NC authorities arrest three, shut down five businesses in illegal gambling operation
A business called Aladdin Sweepstakes was one of five shut down during an illegal gambling operation in Bladen County, N.C.

BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WMBF) – Two Lumberton men were among three arrested following an investigation into illegal video gambling in Bladen County, N.C.

According to a press release from the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office, Steven Ray Lovin and Steven Mark Lovin were each charged with: two counts of gambling; two counts of operating video gaming machines, two counts of possession of five or more video gaming machines; one count of promoting, operating, or conducting a server-based game; one count of possessing illegal gaming terminals; and one count of operating electronic sweepstakes.

Their bonds were set at $50,000 and $100,000, respectively.

Also arrested was Cynthia Dawn Duncan, of Clarkton, N.C., who is facing similar charges.

Left: Steven Ray Lovin; Center: Steven Mark Lovin; Right: Cynthia Duncan (Source: Bladen County, NC Sheriff's Office)
Left: Steven Ray Lovin; Center: Steven Mark Lovin; Right: Cynthia Duncan (Source: Bladen County, NC Sheriff's Office)

Authorities started investigating the alleged illegal gambling after getting complaints from residents. On Feb. 28, the BCSO, the N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement and the Bladenboro Police Department executed search warrants at four locations throughout the county.

During those searches, over 300 illegal video gaming machines and $10,000 in cash was seized, according to the BCSO.

A “knock and talk” was conducted at another business. The owner agreed to cease operations and not reopen within Bladen County, the release stated.

Authorities said additional arrests are anticipated.

Copyright 2019 WMBF. All rights reserved.